Ranbaxy Makes Bid for Merck KGaA's Generic Drug Business

March 15, 2007
Patricia Van Arnum
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Gurgaon, Haryana, India (Mar. 13)-Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited confirmed that it has made a nonbinding bid for the generic drug business of Merck KGaA.

Gurgaon, Haryana, India (March 13)-Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (www.ranbaxy.com) confirmed that it has made a nonbinding bid for the generic drug business of Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany, www.merck.de).  

Earlier this year, Merck KGaA announced plans to divest its generics business following the close of its roughly CHF 16.6-billion ($13.6-billion) deal to acquire a majority stake in the European biotechnology company Serono (Geneva, Switzerland) and the subsequent launch of Merck Serono S.A. (Geneva, Switzerland, www.merckserono.net) as a new entity within Merck KGaA.

Ranbaxy said its bid for Merck KGaA’s generics business is “at a value it considers fair and reasonable,” and that a bid of $6 billion mentioned in media reports is “factually incorrect and speculative.”

“We are looking to evaluate the asset and are going to be very practical about it,” said Malvinder Singh, CEO of Ranbaxy in a prepared statement. “We are not in a rat race for acquisitions but are focused on creating value for our shareholders.”

Merck Generics reported 2005 sales of EUR 1.8 billion ($2.3 billion) and operating revenue of EUR 238 million ($309 million). The division employs roughly 5,000 people worldwide.

A potential acquisition of Merck KGaA’s generics business would be the latest move by the India-based Ranbaxy to build its generics business in Western markets. In 2006, it bought a 97% stake in the Romanian generics company Terapia for $324 million and made bolt-on acquisitions of the Belgium generics company Ethimed NV, the unbranded generics business of Allen SpA, a division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, London, www.gsk.com) in Italy, and the Mundogen generic drug business of GSK in Spain. It also agreed to acquire Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited (Johannesburg, South Africa) for $70 million, in a deal scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2007.