March 1, 2012 / 2:21 PM / 6 years ago

Industrial players eying Italy's Rottapharm-source

MILAN, March 1 (Reuters) - Talks are advancing to sell a stake in the family-owned Italian drugs firm Rottapharm-Madaus, with several industry operators among the interested parties, a source close to the matter said on Thursday.

“The process is going ahead. In the space of a few weeks it will be closed,” the source said.

In January sources close to the matter said talks aimed at bringing a new investor into the group had at best slowed.

Rottapharm founder Luigi Rovati put a stake in his company up for sale earlier this year, looking for a valuation of about 2 billion euros and attracting private equity interest.

But the source said there was also a number of industrial groups interested in Rottapharm.

“Industrial players have always been in the equation,” the source said.

On Wednesday Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore said U.S. group Mylan, the world’s third-largest generic drugmaker, was interested in acquiring Rottapharm. Mylan and Rottapharm both declined to comment.

The source said bringing an industrial player on board was “a totally different strategic decision” to selling a stake to a private equity firm.

The latter option, in the plans of the Rovati family, would lead to an eventual stock-market listing, the source said. (Reporting By Massimo Gaia; Editing by Emilio Parodi and Greg Mahlich)

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