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Pfizer May Make Counter Bid for Ranbaxy : Report

Pfizer may bid for Ranbaxy Laboratories, countering a $4.6 billion offer by Japan's Daiichi
Sankyo
for the Indian generic drug maker, the Business Standard newspaper said.

Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, may bid for the about 65 percent of Ranbaxy held by institutions and public shareholders, the newspaper reported on Friday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the development.

Daiichi Sankyo struck a deal on Wednesday worth up to $4.6 billion to take control of Ranbaxy. The Japanese No. 3 drug maker agreed to acquire 34.8 percent from Ranbaxy's founding Singh family and then make an open offer for up to 20 percent.

GlaxoSmithKline had also weighed a deal with Ranbaxy, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

An Indian television channel reported that Glaxo's offer had been stalled by conditions linked to the process, while also saying Sanofi-Aventis had been a potential bidder.

The newspaper said Pfizer had held talks with the Ranbaxy founders for a possible acquisition a year earlier and may now offer to buy out the stake held by lenders and other investors.

"That is speculation," a Ranbaxy spokesman said. "We have a binding contract with Daiichi. It is a final contract."

Pfizer could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ranbaxy has been battling Pfizer over patent rights for the U.S. firm's blockbuster cholesterol lowering drug, Lipitor, in several countries and has been successful in certain cases.

Shares in Ranbaxy rose as much as 3.6 percent to 561.75 rupees Friday, outperforming the Mumbai market's 0.2 percent gain.

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