Roche CEO plans to steer clear of big acquisitions

Roche CEO plans to steer clear of huge acquisitions

ZURICH (Reuters) – Roche plans to steer clear of the wave of huge takeovers sweeping through the healthcare industry & focus instead on small acquisitions & partnerships, the Swiss drugmaker's chief executive said in an interview published on Saturday.

"We're sticking to our previous strategy. This includes targeted, small acquisitions & partnerships like the ones we have carried out in recent months," Severin Schwan told business newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft.

Several multi-billion dollar deals & bids over the past few months have made 2014 a busy year for healthcare acquisitions as companies look to build scale in leading businesses or slash their tax bill, a tactic known as inversion.

p> On Friday, U.S. drugmaker AbbVie Inc finally clinched Dublin-based Shire Plc in a $55 billion deal that will donate it access to expensive medicines to treat rare diseases.

But since acquiring the remainder of U.S. biotech company Genentech for $46.8 billion in 2009, Roche has earned a reputation as a disciplined acquirer, prepared to walk away from potential deals rather than overpay.

It has snapped up a couple of smaller diagnostic companies so far this year & earlier this month agreed to buy privately-held U.S. biotech company Seragon Pharmaceuticals for $1.7 billion.

Roche's criteria include whether a product or a technology has the potential to improve the standard of care & whether it fits into the company's two business areas of pharmaceuticals & diagnostics, Schwan told the paper.

High valuations of companies in the healthcare industry have dampened Roche's appetite for huge deals, he added.

"We take a look at everything. But at present the calculations only add up in the fewest cases," Schwan said.

"We have to weigh up internal & external opportunities. It can't be that we have to put significant internal opportunities on ice because of too-expensive acquisitions."

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Mergers, Acquisitions & TakeoversHealth Care IndustrySeverin Schwan

Source: “Reuters”

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