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Piramal says no stake sale discussion with Sanofi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Piramal Healthcare Ltd’s chairman on Monday said he was not in merger talks with any firm, including Sanofi-Aventis, after a paper reported the French firm’s plans to buy Piramal had failed.

A proposed deal by France’s Sanofi-Aventis to buy a majority stake in Piramal had fallen through on differences over valuation, the Economic Times reported on Monday, citing two people familiar with the development.

“It is an incorrect report,” Ajay Piramal told Reuters. “There was no discussion of this nature with any company, including Sanofi.”

In February, a source had told Reuters that GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi-Aventis were bidding for the Indian drug maker, with the sale price going as high as $1.5 billion.

Mumbai-based Piramal has repeatedly denied acquisition reports in the past, calling them ‘unfounded’, and has said the founder has no intention of diluting ownership.

“Sanofi-Aventis had put a valuation of over 300 rupees per share for Piramal Healthcare. But, this price was not acceptable to the promoters,” the Economic Times quoted a merchant banker familiar with the development.

Talks between the two companies were at an advanced stage before collapsing, the report said, citing another senior pharma industry official briefed about the proposed deal.

Sanofi-Aventis officials could not be reached for comments immediately.

At 12:37 p.m., Piramal shares had recouped after falling nearly 5 percent earlier, to trade 0.3 percent higher at 202.45 rupees in a firm Mumbai market.

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