Israel's Teva has won the battle for German generic drugmaker Ratiopharm, agreeing to pay more than 3.5 billion euro ($4.8 billion) including debt, three sources close to the situation told Reuters Thursday.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, already the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, beat US drugs powerhouse Pfizer and Iceland's Actavis in the race for Ratiopharm, which the Merckle family had to sell when its business empire crumbled in the financial crisis.
Ratiopharm owner VEM called a news conference to announce what will be the biggest takeover of a copycat drugmaker since Teva's $7.5 billion purchase of US rival Barr, announced in July 2008.
One source close to the deal said Teva had been chosen, though the contract had not yet been signed.
Ratiopharm's last three suitors, whittled down from about a dozen in November, had until Thursday to submit final bids, several sources had previously said.
None of the companies involved have commented on the deal.
Ludwig Merckle put Ratiopharm on the auction block as part of concessions made to creditors by his father Adolf Merckle, who threw himself in front of train in January 2009 shortly after ceding control of his business empire to its creditors.
Ratiopharm is vying with Stada for second place among Germany's largest generics makers, trailing the Hexal generics business of Swiss drug major Novartis.
For Teva, Ratiopharm would be a fast track to the No. 1 position in the German generics market, where the Israeli generics giant is now just number four.