Investor AB and Priveq Receive Swedish Orphan Bids

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) – Sweden’s Investor AB (INVEb.ST) and Priveq Investment have received the first round of bids in a planned sale of their jointly owned drug company, Swedish Orphan, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

“The bids are in and now everyone is waiting for news of what will happen after the bids have been evaluated,” one of the source told Reuters.

A second source confirmed that bids had been submitted, adding that both private equity firms and drug companies were looking at the company, which specialises in drugs for uncommon diseases.

However, a listing on the Stockholm stock exchange was still an option, the source said. Stockholm has not seen an initial price offering since June 2008.

Investor AB spokesman Oscar Stege Unger said Investor did not want comment at this stage. Priveq and Swedish Orphan were not immediately available for comment.

On a Nordic mergers and acquisitions scene that has been in the doldrums for months, the sale of Swedish Orphan would send a very positive signal due to its relatively large size.

In the 12 months to April 2009, Swedish Orphan had net sales of 694.5 million Swedish crowns ($96.3 million) with an operating profit of 201 million crowns.

Investor AB and Priveq bought Swedish Orphan in 2004 for an undisclosed sum. Investor and Priveq each own 42 percent of the company with board members and executives holding the remainder.

Investment banks Morgan Stanley and SEB Enskilda are acting as advisers on the sale, which could fetch as much as 350 million euros ($499 million). ($1=7.214 Swedish Crown) ($1=.7008 Euro)

(Reporting by Sven Nordenstam and Quentin Webb)