Actelion up after Citi says AstraZeneca might want to buy it

ZURICH Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:19am EST

A general view shows Swiss biotech group Actelion Headquarters in Allschwil near Basel, April 23, 2011.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A general view shows Swiss biotech group Actelion Headquarters in Allschwil near Basel, April 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Shares in Swiss biotech company Actelion (ATLN.VX) rose on Thursday after broker Citi said in a research note British pharma group AstraZeneca (AZN.L) might be interested in buying it.

The shares were up 3.2 percent at 76.60 Swiss francs at 1059 GMT (5.59 a.m. ET) , after hitting 77.65 francs earlier in the session, outperforming a 0.3 percent rise in the Stoxx Europe 600 healthcare sector index .SXDP.

"Creative corporate finance ... coupled with 'long runway' acquisitions such as Actelion could provide a useful bridge to organically fuelled growth," Citi analysts said in a note, calling Actelion an "intriguing potential target" for AstraZeneca.

They said the acquisition of Actelion could increase operating profits by 12 percent without jeopardising the dividend.

Actelion declined to comment.

Britain's second biggest drugmaker said last month it was buying biotech company Spirogen for up to $440 million to bolster its research and development pipeline in oncology.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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