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Haniel in bid to boost Celesio stake to sell to McKesson-source

Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 | 2:12 AM ET

FRANKFURT, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The majority shareholder behind German drugs distributor Celesio is in talks to buy the shares in Celesio held by hedge fund Elliott as part of a fresh attempt to sell the company to U.S. drugs wholesaler group McKesson, a person familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH, Celesio's largest shareholder, aims to boost its stake to more than 75 percent to offer McKesson a failproof deal, the source said.

Haniel and Celesio declined to comment, and McKesson and Elliott were not immediately available for comment.

McKesson this month failed to get across the 75 percent threshold for acceptances which it had set as a condition for going ahead with its takeover offer.

German business newspaper Boersen-Zeitung earlier on Thursday reported that talks between Elliott and Haniel were underway and that the two sides were nearing an agreement.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, Frank Siebelt and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Martin Zwiebelberg and Jeremy Laurence)

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