Pfizer to hijack Ranbaxy deal?

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pfizer

Pfizer may be poised to make a counter bid for Ranbaxy, potentially
scuppering the takeover by Daiichi which appeared to be a done
deal.

The Economic Times of India reported that prior to the Daiichi announcement GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda were pursuing Ranbaxy. However, it now appears Pfizer are the closest to making a move. News of Pfizer's interest was broken by the Business Standard newspaper, which cited anonymous sources who claimed the pharmaceutical giant was readying itself to make a bid for the 65 per cent of Ranbaxy owned by institutions and public shareholders. Pfizer has remained tight lipped about the speculation, with spokespeople refusing to comment. Ranbaxy has been more forthright with CEO Malvinder Singh saying the Daiichi deal "is a firm and binding agreement between the two sides​". Despite this the rumours are not going away. The level of interest in Ranbaxy is confirmation of how attractive a proposition Indian pharmaceutical companies are becoming for big pharma. With profits being eaten away by generic competitors the establishment is keen to grab itself a compensatory slice of pie. This is particularly pertinent for Pfizer as it plans for life after Lipitor's (atorvastatin calcium) patent expiration. Ranbaxy has won the right to market its generic version of Lipitor from March 2010, which could potentially decimate Pfizer's profits and put its renowned dividend under threat. Ranbaxy has patent litigations against Pfizer which would be resolved by the acquisition. In addition Pfizer would gain access to a considerable number of cheap manufacturing facilities and a strong position in the Indian market. However, Pfizer will have to pay a considerable premium if it wants to acquire Ranbaxy. Daiichi is paying a 31 per cent premium for Ranbaxy and has stated it will increase its bid in the face of a rival offer. This may be necessary to fend of interest from Pfizer after stakeholders in Ranbaxy expressed their desire to sell to the highest bidder.

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