J&J, Novartis and Takeda in talks for Brazil’s Hypermarcas, say sources: Reuters

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), Novartis AG (NOVN.S) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4502.T) are in talks with the controlling bloc of Brazilian drugmaker Hypermarcas SA (HYPE3.SA) for a buyout, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

Families owning investment vehicles Igarapava Participações SA and Maiorem SA de CV, which hold a combined 34 percent of Hypermarcas, hired the investment banking units of Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4.SA) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) to advise on a sale, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.

None of the potential bidders have yet delivered binding proposals, one of the people said. The purchase of the stakes that the family of Brazilian billionaire João Alves Queiroz Filho — who controls Igarapava — and the Mexican investors in Maiorem would automatically trigger a buyout of minority shareholders.

Shares of Hypermarcas closed 3.8 percent up at 30.35 reais on Monday. The stock had extended gains after the Reuters report, rising more than 7 percent to an all-time high of 31.38 reais.

In a securities filing, Hypermarcas was informed by the investors in those vehicles about “the inexistence of any attempts to sell their stakes in the company.”

The banks, J&J and Takeda did not immediately have a comment.

Novartis declined to comment.

Interest in Hypermarcas from foreign pharmaceutical behemoths comes after Brazil’s largest listed drug producer spent the past two years focusing on over-the-counter medicines. Hypermarcas raised some $1.5 billion from the sale of personal care brands to Coty Inc (COTY.N), Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB.L) and Ontex Group NV (ONTEX.BR).

O Globo columnist Lauro Jardim reported on Sunday that owners of Igarapava and Maiorem were discussing a potential sale of their stakes with a number of unidentified foreign companies.