Bloomberg: Sanofi, Pfizer mull potential deal for Mexican generics maker Rimsa

Big Pharma is having a dealmaking fiesta in Mexico, with companies such as Sanofi ($SNY), Pfizer ($PFE), Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) considering buying local generic drugmaker Representaciones e Investigaciones Medicas, also known as Rimsa, to beef up business south of the border.

As Bloomberg reports, citing sources, Sanofi--along with other drugmakers including Japan's Takeda and Abbott Laboratories--are inquiring about a potential sale, which could fetch up to $1 billion. The companies are staying mum on details, with representatives from Teva, Sanofi, Pfizer, Abbott and Takeda not responding to Bloomberg's requests for comment and Mexico City-based Rimsa taking a similar tack.

But according to the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, at least one offer is being carefully considered. Columnist Dario Celis did not name any names, but said in a Sept. 10 article that speculation centers on a "U.S. big pharma" while others familiar with the matter think the interested party could be Takeda.

A deal in Mexico could further beef up Sanofi's Latin American portfolio, after a recent focus on the Middle East; the French drugmaker recently snatched up Dubai's Globalpharma. And Pfizer has said it's counting on emerging markets to deliver a boost following last year's failed attempt for AstraZeneca ($AZN).

Teva CEO Erez Vigodman

Teva is also the market for deals, with CEO Erez Vigodman saying earlier this year that the company would shop around after a year of cost-cutting. Emerging markets will play a large part of that, he added, as Teva looks to beef up in generics and get back to its core business.

Other companies have been getting in on the action in Mexico, lured by the promise of its growing healthcare sector. Last year, Novo Nordisk ($NVO) targeted the country for an early launch of its obesity med Victoza. And earlier this year, Ireland-based drugmaker Perrigo ($PRGO) shelled out $34 million in cash for Patheon's soft-gel capsule manufacturing facility in Mexico City.

"(W)e believe Perrigo is uniquely positioned to maximize the potential of the business by leveraging our own Mexican operations to drive growth and value for our customers and shareholders," CEO Joseph Papa said at the time of the deal.

- read the Bloomberg story
- here's the Excelsior article (in Spanish)

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