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GlaxoSmithKline considering Serono acquisition

Published on 12/01/06 at 10:43am

GlaxoSmithKline is understood to be considering the acquisition of Europe's biggest biotech company Serono, currently worth around $12 billion.

Serono's chief executive Ernesto Bertarelli took on investment bank Goldman Sachs in November to explore a merger or acquisition of the company, which is facing tough competition to its flagship product, multiple sclerosis treatment Rebif.

If confirmed, GSK's inquiry could breathe new life into the sale, which has a deadline of the end of January for bidders to confirm their interest.

Currently the world's second biggest company, buying Serono could help GSK close ground on pharma's number one Pfizer. But GSK is tipped to grow rapidly in the next few years thanks to a maturing pipeline, and may decide it can forego the distraction of another merger.

Some analysts have tipped Serono's Swiss neighbours Novartis as the most likely bidders, not just because of its cultural and geographic fit but because of Novartis' ambition to grow.

Novartis chief executive Daniel Vasella spent a massive $15 billion on acquisitions in 2005, buying generics manufacturers Hexel and Eon, vaccines group Chiron and also acquired part of Bristol-Myers Squibb's over the counter portfolio.

But while some analysts have predicted Novartis will look to enlarge its prescription medicines business by acquiring Serono, the pharma company is said to be playing down the possibility of a bid.

Another company which has declared itself open to merger and acquisition offers is Altana, which recently suffered a serious setback after withdrawing its European marketing application for respiratory drug Daxas.

Despite some appetite among big pharma companies to hit the acquisition trail again, analysts say neither Serono or Altana currently present a compelling offer for the major players in terms of pipeline opportunities or income.

Related articles:

Altana and Serono seeking mergers 

Thursday , December 01, 2005

 

 

 

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