AstraZeneca has joined the pharmaceutical sector’s M&A party, or so rumour has it. The British drug maker, which spent much of 2014 batting away interest from US heavyweight Pfizer, is said to have made a $200-a-share offer for Receptos, which values the San Diego-based firm at £4.1bn.
However, sources say the Nasdaq-quoted company, which has treatments for multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, has rebuffed AstraZeneca’s advances. It is said to be holding out for at least $350 per share, more than double its current share price on Nasdaq of $157. Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals, which is embroiled in the hostile takeover of Mylan Laboratories, and America’s Gilead Sciences are also vying for Receptos’s affections.
AstraZeneca, under the guidance of French chief executive Pascal Soriot, has been beefing up its drug pipeline in an effort to offset expiring patents.
It follows weekend reports that fellow FTSE 100 drug group, Shire, had a £12bn bid for Actelion, the Swiss drug manufacturer, rejected. AstraZeneca, down 87p to 4,246p, refused to comment on the speculation.
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