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Reports: Watson Pharma Close To Buying Actavis In A $7 Bln Deal

Generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Co. (WPI) is reportedly close to acquiring privately-held European peer Actavis for about $7 billion. The news sent Watson's shares soaring, which closed higher by nearly 9 percent.

The Swiss firm was taken private in 2007 and Icelandic business tycoon Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson has a 78 percent stake in the company.

Parsippany, New Jersey-based Watson's offerings include generic version of cholesterol drug Lipitor and Concerta, intended for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The company last month reported a surge in profit for the fourth quarter mainly on strong sales of these two drugs.

Actavis also has a business nearly as big as that of Watson and has a formidable presence in central and eastern Europe. It has around 830 products on the market and about 350 products under development and pending registration. The U.S. company may pay 5.0 billion euros to 5.5 billion euros for the Swiss firm.

Among its previous acquisitions, Watson purchased Andrx Corp in 2006 for $1.9 billion and bought Arrow Group for $1.75 billion in 2009. The company last year acquired Specifar Pharmaceuticals of Greece for $562 million.

WPI climbed $5.16 or 8.82 percent on Wednesday to close the session at $63.69 on a volume of 10.86 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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