Cipla today denied a published report that it is the renewed object of a takeover attempt by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which has reportedly offered as much as $6 billion for the Indian drug developer.
Livemint reported that Teva approached Cipla again in November after trying to acquire Cipla, and being rebuffed, two earlier times since 2012. The report was attributed to “two persons familiar with the matter, one of them a consultant and the other a merchant banker.” Both declined to be named, according to Livemint.
“This news item is purely baseless and speculative in nature,” Cipla said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
“The claim in the news item of an offer made in November is incorrect and no such formal offer was received by the Cipla board. We have consistently denied such rumors in the past and continue to do so. In fact, we clarified our aforesaid position to the newspaper on May 6, 2014, in response to their query,” Cipla added.
Today’s statement differs from the reported denial of an unnamed Cipla spokesperson that was included in Livemint’s report: “Cipla has no plans to sell the company, so hasn’t considered any of the proposals.”
The news report also included a no-comment from Teva spokeswoman Denise Bradley: “We do not want to comment on market rumours.”
Teva considers Cipla to be complementary because of its large manufacturing base in India, a longtime hub for generic drug making, and its strong market presence in emerging markets including India, the unnamed consultant was reported as saying.
Teva’s Indian presence consists of a subsidiary established a decade ago, a research center for active pharmaceutical ingredients opened in 2005 at Greater Noida near Delhi, and a consumer health and a nutritional product plant at Sanand in Gujarat that opened in 2012 through a joint venture with Procter and Gamble. However, Teva lacks the key formulation manufacturing base that it could acquire by snapping up Cipla, the consultant added.
Facing the loss of patent protection for its top selling drug, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, Teva is restructuring its operations. The company committed last year to cutting $2 billion in costs by 2017 eliminating 5,000 jobs under previous president and CEO Jeremy Levin, D.Phil—a commitment re-affirmed in January by his interim successor, Eyal Desheh, at the JP Morgan 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference.
Current President and CEO Erez Vigodman told analysts last week that Teva plans to close or divest 11 manufacturing facilities, and is evaluating plans to shut another 16. He did not identify any of the plants in either category.
“We are in a process of resigning significant capacity to local facilities,” Vigodman said, according to a transcript of the May 1 call by SeekingAlpha. We have launched [an] operational excellence plan in a quest to dramatically increase the competitiveness of our plants.”
Copaxone sales during the first quarter rose 1% from Q1 2013, to $1.07 billion, and increased 8.3% for all of last year compared with 2012, to $4.328 billion. Teva hopes to retain sales through a new three-times-weekly dosage of the drug approved in January by the FDA, as well as by fighting potential generic competition from rivals.
A key attraction of Cipla for Teva is the Indian company’s global presence in respiratory drugs. Cipla’s projected revenue for 2015 is based in part on generating $2.4 billion from that segment alone, making it imperative that Teva explore a deal, the consultant added in the report.
In comments attributed to the unnamed banker, the news report stated that Cipla could be valued at about $6 billion (close to Rs. 36,000 crore) based on its market value of Rs. 30.739 crore (about $5.1 billion). According to the banker, Cipla is vulnerable to a takeover because its founder and head, iconic entrepreneur Yusuf K. Hamied, is now 78, raising questions about succession. Cipla’s spokesperson, however, insisted that succession was no longer an issue.
Over the past decade, Teva has acquired several drug developers, ranging from German-owned Ratiopharm, Japanese-owned Taiyo Pharmaceutical Industry, and numerous U.S. companies including Cephalon, Ivax, Barr Pharmaceuticals—and most recently earlier this year NuPathe, for which it outbid Endo International.