Mayne Pharma takeover tipped Elizabeth Colman September 20, 2006 MAYNE Pharma appears set to become an acquisition target as shares in the British-based cancer-drug maker were halted at the request of the company following a surge on Monday.
Mayne is expected to announce by tomorrow morning that it has received an offer, with suggestions yesterday that a bid could come from private equity.
With no news, shares in Mayne leapt 17c on heavy volumes before a halt was called. In a release to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, Mayne requested trading cease, pointing to talks over a possible "transaction".
"This request is made because the company is currently in discussions in relation to a potential transaction, which, if those discussions are successfully concluded, is likely to have a material effect on the price at which the company's securities are traded on the ASX," the company said.
Yesterday, healthcare market experts noted that US-based Hospira, a generics injectable company, and fellow American Teva would be compatible with Mayne, while Britain's Actavis was also a possible suitor. Acquiring Mayne, which has made significant inroads into North Europe, would help increase the reach of US and British pharmaceutical companies.
"Financial sponsors" such as private-equity investor Apax Partners, which has made forays into the drug arena, were also possible players, analysts said.
But some were skeptical that Mayne had been approached at all, saying the pharmaceutical giants had recently increased exposure in North Europe.
"Mayne's just cashed-up and they have a strategy to acquire," one analyst said. "We get the sense it's probably an acquisition - either they're getting taken over or considering a bid."
Earlier this month Mayne reported a net loss, but boasted a pipeline that included $4 billion in cutting-edge drugs. The company was spun out of the 2005 demerger of Mayne Group into its oncology business and the Symbion pathology outfit.
Yesterday Mayne also announced approval of its epirubicin cancer-fighting compound - which can be used to treat breast, lung, lymph, stomach and ovarian cancer - in the US, after its star oxaliplatin product was cleared in Britain.