September 21, 2017 / 5:12 PM / a year ago

Generic drugmaker Impax Labs in talks to merge with Amneal: WSJ

(Reuters) - Impax Laboratories Inc IPXL.O is in talks to merge with privately held Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The generic drugmaker’s shares rose as much as 19.3 pct to $25.70, highest in nearly a year.

Impax and Amneal are in talks that could yield a transaction next month, according to the WSJ report.

The merger talks come at a time when the largest U.S. retail pharmacies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O), are wielding more leverage when buying generic drugs, accelerating a decline in prices likely to affect drug companies for some time.

The pressure is exacerbated as U.S. regulators push for the market entry of more generics to drive down branded drug prices otherwise spiraling out of control.

Reuters reported in March that Impax had asked investment bank Morgan Stanley to help it conduct a strategic review.

Amneal and Impax, which had a market valuation of $1.60 billion as of Wednesday’s close, declined to comment.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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