December 17, 2018 / 5:16 AM / a month ago

Taisho said to near $1.6 billion deal for Bristol-Myers's UPSA - Bloomberg

FILE PHOTO: Employees work on paracetamol production line for UPSA brand of Bristol-Myers Squibb Group at the company's factory in Le Passage, near Agen, France March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) - Japanese healthcare firm Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd (4581.T) is said to be close to a $1.6 billion (1.3-billion pound) deal for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s (BMY.N) French over-the-counter drugs business UPSA, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

An agreement for the consumer-health business could be announced as soon as this week, according to the report bloom.bg/2QyHulF.

Bristol-Myers Squibb declined to comment on the report, but said it was still considering options for the strategic review of UPSA that was announced in June. A Taisho spokesman declined to comment.

The report comes amid a flurry of deals among drugmakers, who are trying to survive a contraction in the domestic drug market due to government-led price cuts and promotion of generic drugs.

The Japanese drugmaker’s sales of over-the-counter drugs in foreign markets was worth 8.8 billion yen (61.6 million pounds) in April-September, down 7.9 percent on year, according to its results.

Earlier this month, Takeda Pharmaceutical (4502.T) won shareholder approval for its $59 billion takeover of London-listed Shire (SHP.L), allowing the company to join the ranks of the world’s top 10 drugmakers.

German drugmaker Stada (STAGn.D) and Italian healthcare company Angelini were among the final bidders for Bristol-Myers’ UPSA unit, according to a Reuters report in November.

Taisho shares ended down 0.3 percent at 12,560 yen on Monday.

Reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair

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