Grifols SA, Europe’s largest maker of blood-plasma products, is in talks to buy Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp. for more than $3 billion, a person briefed on the discussions said.
Grifols plans to pay mostly cash for Talecris, partly owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP, and may be ready to announce an agreement as early as today, the person said. The person said no agreement has been signed and the talks, which were reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, could still fall apart.
The deal would give Grifols almost a third of the U.S. market for blood-based infusions, matching Baxter International Inc. and beating CSL Ltd.’s 29 percent share, said Andrew Goodsall, a health-care analyst with UBS AG in Sydney. CSL, based in Melbourne, ended its proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of Talecris a year ago following an objection by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
“Talecris have been on the market only for a relatively short time and Grifols are quite hungry to expand,” said Stuart Roberts, who rates Australian health-care stocks at Southern Cross Equities Ltd. in Sydney. “My suspicion is that they’ve done their homework and decided that they wouldn’t be in danger of having the deal knocked back by the Feds the way CSL was.”
A phone call to Grifols’s investor relations line outside of regular business hours wasn’t answered. Becky Levine, a spokeswoman for Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based Talecris, declined to comment in an e-mail.
Grifols, based in Barcelona, ended trading 0.7 percent lower at 9.267 euros in Madrid trading on June 4. Talecris dropped 3.4 percent to $15.915 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading, valuing the company at $1.96 billion. The U.S. company has slumped 29 percent this year amid a slowdown in demand for blood plasma products in the U.S., Roberts said.
“The time to go in is now,” Roberts said in a telephone interview, referring to the timing of the talks with Grifols executives. “If they go in now, they can get it at the right price.”
Talecris, which had $605 million in long-term borrowings as of March 31, makes protein therapies derived from human blood plasma to treat immune deficiencies and hemophilia. It also sells Prolastin, the leading treatment for emphysema patients who were born with a protein deficiency.