Switzerland's Actelion said on Tuesday that it was in talks with an undisclosed suitor about a "strategic transaction," even as another potential acquirer, U.S. healthcare company Johnson & Johnson ended talks.
The latest twist in Actelion's deal negotiations illustrate how its chief executive Jean-Paul Clozel is driving a hard bargain as bidders circle his company, which he founded in 1997 and turned into Europe's largest biotechnology drug marker.
Actelion did not name the company it was still in discussions with. It informed Johnson & Johnson that it was confident it could attract an offer significantly higher than the approximately 250 Swiss francs per share that the U.S. company had offered, according to a person familiar with the matter that requested anonymity because the negotiations were confidential. There were also disagreements about the structure of the deal, the person added.
Actelion shares ended trading at 208.50 Swiss francs in Zurich on Tuesday before Actelion gave the update on the talks, giving it a market capitalization of 22.5 billion Swiss francs ($22.2 billion).