December 6, 2014 / 1:26 AM / in 5 years

Merck in talks to acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals for more than $7 billion: NYT

(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc is in talks to acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc for more than $7 billion in a deal that could be announced as early as next week, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the matter.

Merck will likely pay roughly $100 a share for Cubist, valuing the company that makes drugs to fight superbugs, in the range of $7.5 billion, the people said. (nyti.ms/1IbKXcJ)

Merck could pay a 33 percent premium for Cubist, the sources told the newspaper, but it was not clear if it would pay for Cubist shares with cash, stock or a combination of the two.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based Cubist is valued at about $5.7 billion as of its Friday close of $74.36.

The antibiotic maker’s shares rose about 22.7 percent to $91.25 on the Nasdaq in extended trade. Up to Friday’s close, the stock had nearly doubled over the last three years. Merck’s shares were flat.

Both companies were unavailable for comment outside of regular business hours.

Cubist reported a 16 percent jump in third-quarter sales in October, driven by strong sales of its antibiotic Cubicin, which generated global sales of more than $1 billion last year.

The company received U.S. regulatory approval for its antibiotic Sivextro in June. It awaits an FDA decision on another antibiotic, ceftolozane/tazobactam, on Dec. 21.

In June, Merck acquired Idenix Pharmaceuticals for $3.85 billion, to boost its hepatitis C drug portfolio.

Reporting by Natalie Grover and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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