FTC Will Sue To Block Talecris Deal

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday it would sue to block Australian biotech firm CSL Ltd’s (CSL.AX) planned $3.1 billion purchase of U.S. rival Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp.

The FTC authorized its staff to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the transaction, saying the deal would substantially reduce U.S. competition in the markets for four plasma-derivative protein therapies.

The therapies are used to treat people with primary immunodeficiency diseases, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, alpha-1 antitrypsin disease, and hemolytic disease of the newborn.

Talecris is owned by private equity groups Cerberus Partners and Tribeca Investment Partners.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that consumers benefit from vigorous competition in the health care sector — both to ensure competitive prices and to drive further innovation,” Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

CSL sought to buy Talecris to boost its presence in the fast-growing biopharmaceutical industry.

CSL shares closed on Wednesday at A$30.15 each. ($1=1.288 Australian Dollar) (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)