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February 1, 2007 2:00 am
Several pharmaceutical groups have been cited as potential bidders for Bristol-Myers Squibb and are likely to be approached by the company's new team of bankers in the coming days, writes Andrew Jack.
AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish group, needs urgently to reinforce its pipeline after a series of recent late-stage drug trial failures, and demonstrated a clear interest in Bristol when it in-licensed and agreed to joint development and marketing of two diabetes medicines in January. It has an appetite for more, but most deals so far have been far more modest.
Novartis of Switzerland, which is cash rich, is frequently cited as a potential acquirer for rumoured takeovers, although Daniel Vasella, chief executive, has emphasised organic growth and smaller-scale deals and in-licensing.
Fred Hassan, the head of Schering-Plough of the US, is known to have ambitions to expand his company, although industry observers argue that it may lack the scale for a takeover of Bristol's size. Wyeth, which has also overcome litigations in recent years, is another possibility, as are the big two - GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer - but critics question overlaps in drugs and whether another "big is beautiful" deal would be justified.
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