Sanofi, Teva among Ratiopharm bidders

No wonder Ratiopharm's owner family was so pleased by the first round of buyout bids. If Bloomberg's sources are correct, a smorgasbord of offers came in from financial investors, branded drugmakers, and generics firms.

Here are the named suspects of the outside investor ilk: The private-equity arm of Goldman Sachs. The Boston buyout firm Advent International. New York investment bankers KKR & Co. Private equity investors TPG and Permira. From the drugs industry, bidders included Big Pharma firm Sanofi-Aventis and Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm Group, plus generics makers Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Mylan, and Actavis Group.

Reportedly, the bids weren't as high as the Merkle family had hoped; you'll recall that patriarch Adolf Merckle got hammered in last year's financial crisis, and the family put Ratiopharm on the block to help settle debts. The family said it would like to get offers of 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion), but Bloomberg's sources put the bids at a more modest €2 billion, or $3 billion.

Markus Braun, a Ratiopharm spokesperson, wouldn't comment for Bloomberg today, but he has said that the family aims to sell the company all in one piece. But the Merckles are holding out the option of dealing out pieces to various buyers. Stay tuned; the family's also aiming for a first-quarter 2010 sale.

- read the Bloomberg story