January 26, 2009 / 7:33 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Wyeth ends Crucell talks before takeover by Pfizer

* Source says Wyeth had proposed 20-euros-plus per share

* Source says Crucell not seeking alternative buyer

* Crucell one of last independent vaccine makers

* Crucell shares stage small recovery after 23 pct drop

(Adds source comment, detail on Pfizer-Wyeth; updates shares)

By Niclas Mika and Quentin Webb

AMSTERDAM/LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Wyeth WYE.N withdrew from talks to acquire Dutch vaccine-maker Crucell on Monday, sending Crucell’s shares tumbling, as the U.S. drugmaker’s own $68 billion takeover by Pfizer neared agreement.

A source familiar with the matter said Crucell CRCL.AS had only talked to Wyeth because of an “extremely attractive” proposal of at least 20 euros a share, and it was not actively seeking an alternative buyer. Crucell declined to comment.

Shares in Crucell fell as much as 23 percent but later trimmed losses. They stood 16 percent lower at 13.035 euros a share by 1337 GMT.

Hours after Crucell said its talks with Wyeth had been discontinued, Pfizer (PFE.N), the world’s largest drugmaker, said it would buy Wyeth for about $68 billion, helping it diversify its revenue base. [ID:nN26291129]

The Leiden-based Crucell is one of the world’s few remaining independent vaccine makers. Its shares leapt after it revealed earlier this month it was talking to Wyeth, but then fell last week on fears that a Pfizer-Wyeth tie-up could scupper the deal.

Another major drugmaker such as Novartis NOVN.VX or Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) could be interested in Crucell but it would not formally put itself up for sale, the source added.

“The only reason (Crucell) opened up the discussions is because what was considered an extremely attractive offer was put on the table,” the source said.

Shares in Sanofi fell 2.1 percent on talk it could bid for Crucell, traders said. A spokesman declined to comment. [ID:nWEA3338]

A 20-euro-per-share bid for Crucell would value the company’s stock at more than 1.3 billion euros.

Speaking on CNBC, Pfizer Inc Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Kindler declined to comment on whether Pfizer would now seek to acquire Crucell.

Wyeth could not be immediately reached for comment.

Crucell in November posted its first quarterly profit, boosted by sales of its vaccines and cost savings, and raised its 2008 sales outlook.

Its sales have been fuelled by strong growth in its paediatric vaccines, especially Quinvaxem, a vaccine cocktail for the childhood diseases diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and hepatitis B. ($1=.7719 euros) (Reporting by Niclas Mika and Quentin Webb; Editing by David Holmes, Mike Nesbit and Hans Peters)

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