Merckles 'very satisfied' with Ratiopharm bids

The Merckle family counts itself content. Via its investment vehicle VEM, the family has been accepting bids for German generics maker Ratiopharm. And not only was the family surprised by the number of offers, but "very satisfied" with the bids themselves. Offers came in from investment groups and from drugmakers, a family spokesman said.

As you know, Ratiopharm went on the block as a concession to the late Adolf Merckle's creditors. Damaged by last year's financial crisis, Merckle needed to generate cash to work out his debts. Sources told Reuters that the family hopes to get up to $5.16 billion from the deal. But, as the news service notes, industry experts don't expect the price to be that high. Bloomberg's sources said getting as much as $4.5 billion for Ratiopharm would be a stretch.

Anticipating some sort of deal, one generics insider told Reuters that VEM could pump up Ratiopharm's value by spinning off its profitable Canadian business and selling it separately. No word, however, on whether the family is considering such a move. VEM wouldn't reveal the value of the bids nor the identity of bidders. When the company first went on the block, rumored suitors included generics maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, and investment group Warburg Pincus.

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