Indian pharmaceutical majors Dr Reddy's and Ranbaxy are believed to be the front runners in the bid to acquire German generic pharma company Betapharm. Some of the global generic majors like Teva of Israel are also believed to be in the fray.
Betapharm is a leading generics player in Germany which is one of the fastest-growing generic markets in Europe. Betapharm was formed in 1993 and markets a range of drugs across various segments. The company employs around 350 people and had revenues of over €160 million for the year ended December 2004.
3i, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe, supported a €300- million management buyout of Betapharm in 2004.
3i has been trying to sell its stake for the last few months and had invited bids from potential buyers. The bids were closed by the end of January.
Dr. Reddy's has reportedly bid €470 million for the company, over 50 per cent of what 3i paid less than two years back. It is learnt that Ranbaxy has also bid aggressively. Interestingly, reports indicate that 3i need not necessarily sell to the highest financial bidder as the interests of the present management also would be considered.
Neither of the Indian companies has confirmed or denied the reports about the bid.
Ranbaxy closed with gains of 2.57 per cent while Dr Reddy lost 0.45 per cent on the NSE yesterday.