Market Report: Speculation mounts over Hikma Pharmaceuticals takeover

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The Independent Online

The City can't get enough of drug deals, with traders getting their latest fix from rumours that Hikma Pharmaceuticals could be a takeover target.

Speculation mounted that generic drug makers Mylan and Meda could both be plotting a bid for the FTSE 250 company.

US-based Mylan recently lost out in its attempted $6.7bn (£3.9bn) takeover of Sweden's Meda, leaving it hungry for a successful deal, while Meda's chief executive, Jorg-Thomas Dierks, said yesterday he hopes to fend off any future bids through acquisitions – "either you eat or you will be eaten", were his words.

Hikma, with a market cap of £3.2bn, may look like a tasty dish, but the business's founding Darwazah family still owns a hefty stake and look unlikely to sell without an attractive premium – £22 is floated as a potential price, with Hikma finishing up 33p at 1,620p.

The FTSE 100 closed down 2.12 at 6,796.44, as a continued sell-off in the US and ongoing problems in Ukraine hit sentiment.

Performance wasn't helped by disappointing results from the likes of building-supplies specialist CRH, off 61p at 1,679p, and companies going ex-dividend, such as Morrisons, 11.2p lower at 190.8p.

Prison services to bomb-disposal company G4S, climbed 9.9p to 250.2p on signs that the outsourcer is recovering from the series of scandals that spoiled last year. Revenue has risen 4.8 per cent over the last three months.

Legal & General was one of the day's best performers after revealing bulk annuities orders were countering the effects of the Government's radical pensions overhaul. The insurer added 6.5p to 220p, but is still 10.5p off its pre-Budget level.

ITV became the largest producer of reality television in the US yesterday, after swooping for the US studio behind programmes like Pawn Stars and Real Housewives of New Jersey. The deal, worth up to $800m, helped the broadcaster put on 1.6p to 1,87.5p.

Mid-tier Icap tumbled 22.4p to 394.4p, after the interdealer broker admitted a 47 per cent drop in electronic broking volumes in April.