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Teva raises its stake in acquisition target Mylan

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' Jerusalem oral solid dosage plant (OSD) is seen December 21, 2011. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA) has increased its stake in Mylan NV (MYL.O) to nearly 2.2 percent as it presses on with an unsolicited bid for its generic drug-making rival, a regulatory filing showed on Friday.

The strategy is another sign of Teva's commitment to its $40 billion takeover proposal for Mylan, as the latter continues to pursue its own hostile bid for over-the-counter drug company Perrigo Company PLC (PRGO.N).

Teva had accumulated around 10.5 million shares in Mylan as of June 4, according to the filing.

Teva last week disclosed a 1.8 percent stake in Mylan, which on Monday said in a letter addressed to Teva Chief Executive Officer Erez Vigodman that the move breached antitrust laws because of the stake's size.

U.S. antitrust laws bar companies from acquiring stakes worth more than $76.3 million in rivals without first obtaining regulatory approval. Teva's stake exceeds this amount. Companies found guilty of FTC violations could face multimillion-dollar fines for every day in the market they purchase shares.

Mylan, which is incorporated in the Netherlands, argues that it is entitled to antitrust protection because its principal offices are located within the United States for U.S. Federal Trade Commission purposes, even as it lists its principal executives offices in Britain in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission has refused to comment on whether it is investigating Teva in connection to its stake-building in Mylan.

Following Mylan's letter, Teva did not purchase shares in Mylan from June 1 to June 3. It resumed buying on June 4.

Teva is looking to increase its stake in Mylan to around 4.6 percent, Reuters previously reported. A stake of this size would allow Teva to have standing in Dutch court to potentially challenge Mylan, which so far has refused to engage in tie-up talks.

Teva has not yet submitted a formal offer to buy Mylan but will likely do so after it completes accumulating shares, Reuters reported.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)