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Billionaire Blavatnik weighs big share purchase in Teva Pharm - reports

FILE PHOTO: A building belonging to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's biggest generic drugmaker and Israel's largest company, is seen in Jerusalem February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Billionaire businessman Len Blavatnik is looking to buy a significant stake in debt-ridden Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA), according to Israeli media reports.

Two of Israel's leading financial news outlets, Globes and The Marker, reported on Sunday that Blavatnik has been examining a large share purchase in Teva, whose stock price hit a 17-year low last week after the company again cut its annual profit forecast.

A spokesman for Blavatnik's U.S.-based industrial group, Access Industries, declined to comment. Teva (TEVA.N), the world's biggest generic drugmaker, also declined to comment.

The Marker reported that Blavatnik was looking to acquire up to a $3 billion(£2.29 billion) stake in Teva. The company has a $12.3 billion market cap.

The investment could either be done through a private stock listing, which would help Teva deal with its nearly $35 billion debt burden, or the shares could be bought from pharmaceutical firm Allergan (AGN.N), the report said.

Allergan received a 10 percent stake in Teva as part of a 2016 deal in which Teva bought its generics business for $40.5 billion. Allergan announced last week that it would begin selling down that stake.

Blavatnik's Access has investments in real estate, chemicals, media and technology with Warner Music among its highest profile businesses.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Tova Cohen and Steven Scheer; Editing by Keith Weir)