US skincare products maker Stiefel Laboratories could soon be snapped up by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in a deal worth $3 billion (£2.03bn).
According to reports, privately held Stiefel also drew attention from Johnson & Johnson and Novartis AG when it put itself up for sale earlier this year.
The Florida-based firm specialises in making acne treatments and other skin creams, lotions, washes and vitamins. The acquisition of Stiefel would significantly increase the dermatology range offered by Glaxo, which currently makes the Abreva cold sore medicine.
Glaxo said it had only minimally been affected by the current global downturn and it was aware of the increased acquisition opportunities as some businesses are forced to sell off assets.
The British company, which some estimates put as the world’s number two drug maker by revenue, has been looking to replace falling sales of key older drugs that are facing generic competition by moving into non-pharmaceutical markets.
Glaxo said it will lose about $5 billion (£3.38bn) in sales as demand falls for its mainstay treatments like its diabetes drug Avandia, its antidepressant Wellbutrin and heart medication Coreg.
Copyright Press Association 2009