U.S. health care company Johnson & Johnson has approached Swiss biotechnology firm Actelion Ltd about a potential takeover, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.
The report said that deliberations are still at an early stage following Johnson & Johnson's initial offer, and Actelion is working with an adviser to explore options.
Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Alex Gorsky said earlier this year that the company was interested in making deals to expand its main consumer, medical device, and pharmaceuticals segments. He noted that in recent years, J&J had derived about half its revenue from acquired products.
Johnson & Johnson agreed to buy Abbott Laboratories' eye care business for about $4.33 billion in cash in September.
Actelion shares have risen more than 13 percent this year, valuing it at about $17 billion.
In October, Actelion raised its earnings guidance for the third time this year as sales from its new drugs Opsumit and Uptravi, which treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), for the first time surpassed those of Tracleer, its decade-long mainstay that lost U.S. patent protection last November.
Johnson & Johnson and Actelion were not immediately available for comment.