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Swedish drugmaker Meda rejects takeover bid from Mylan, board says

| Friday, April 4, 2014, 9:57 a.m.

Mylan Inc., which is looking to make a “substantial” acquisition this year, was rebuffed on Friday in its attempt to take over a Swedish drugmaker and expand in respiratory and branded dermatology generics.

Meda AB said it had been contacted by Cecil-based Mylan, the world's third-largest generic drugmaker by sales, about combining the two companies.

“The board has convened and has decided to reject the proposal,” Meda said in a statement. “All continued discussions between Meda and Mylan have been terminated without further actions.”

Meda has a market value of $4.5 billion. Mylan's market value is $18.5 billion.

Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin declined to comment on Meda's statement, saying Mylan does not publicly discuss potential deals.

“As we have previously stated, Mylan is considering a wide range of possible opportunities,” she said.

Meda spokeswoman Paula Treutiger declined to comment on Mylan's offer or its rejection.

Meda would have helped Mylan strengthen its position in emerging markets and Europe, and help lower its tax rate, Thomas Maul, an analyst in Frankfurt, Germany, at DZ Bank AG, wrote in a note to investors.

Among Meda's products is the allergy drug Dymista. A majority of Mylan's products are generic versions of branded pharmaceuticals. But it makes EpiPen, a branded drug used to treat severe allergic reactions.

Mylan's chief financial officer, John Sheehan, told analysts last month that it would consider acquiring companies that make products Mylan does not have, including in dermatology.

Repeated speculation about a takeover has buoyed shares of Sweden-based Meda in recent years. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. considered a bid for Meda last year, two people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Meda said it was not in talks.

In 2011, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. approached Meda about a takeover, two people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Meda denied it had been approached.

Meda's stock has risen 19 percent this year, touching a seven-year high on April 1.

Mylan shares rose 77 cents, or 1.54 percent, to $50.63 on Friday.

CEO Heather Bresch has said Mylan is willing to look at larger deals, in both generic drugs and branded medicines.

“We're not limiting ourselves,” Bresch said in an interview in February.

The company has been looking at assets to buy that would expand its global sales power, with commercial operations in new countries.

“I think we're poised for a transaction this year, and our balance sheet reflects that it could be sizable,” Bresch said in the interview.

Mylan's top competitors, Actavis Plc and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., have grown through purchases, expanding their product lines to include specialty and branded drugs. Actavis, based in Dublin with operations in New Jersey, on Feb. 18 agreed to buy brand-drug maker Forest Laboratories Inc. for $25 billion.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com. Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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