Two bidders remain in Solvay race

Solvay may be closing in on a spinoff for its drugs unit. According to press reports this morning, the company has two bidders circling its pharma business ... or perhaps three. Either way, the Solvay board met to evaluate offers on Monday, and the auction process continues with due diligence, site visits, and meetings with management.

By all accounts, one bidder in the game is Nycomed, the Swiss drugmaker majority-owned by private equity investor Nordic Capital. The Financial Times pegs Abbott Laboratories as the only other bidder, but Reuters' sources say the second potential buyer is a Japanese drugmaker. And apparently, Abbott is only interested in plucking choice Solvay assets: TriCor, the fruit of a partnership between Abbott and the Belgian company, and perhaps other parts of the drugs business.

So we're looking at either Nycomed plus Abbott, or Nycomed plus a Japanese company. Or it could be Nycomed plus a Japanese company bidding for the whole kit and kaboodle, plus Abbott looking for an asset buy. As Reuters points out, Nycomed could gain some "European synergies" from buying Solvay. A Japanese buyer would get a European platform. 

- check out the article from the FT
- read the Reuters story