Celesio AG (CLS1) shares rose to the highest level in more than two years after a report that McKesson Corp. (MCK:US) is in talks with majority shareholder Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH to acquire the German drug wholesaler.
The shares rose as much as 19 percent and traded 17 percent higher at 19.97 euros at 12:03 p.m. in Frankfurt today.
McKesson has gained access to Stuttgart, Germany-based Celesio’s books may value the company at about 22 euros a share, a premium of about 30 percent to yesterday’s closing price, Dow Jones reported earlier today. The San Francisco-based company may announce a bid as early as this month, according to the report.
The stock has climbed 56 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of 3.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion), amid speculation the company could be sold.
A possible Celesio sale comes as medical expenses rise and governments cut spending in Europe. Drug wholesalers have been examining their positions in Europe and ways to reduce costs since Walgreen Co. (WAG:US), the largest U.S. drugstore chain, agreed to buy a 45 percent stake of U.K. pharmacy owner Alliance Boots in 2012.
Spokesmen for Celesio and Haniel declined to comment. Representatives of McKesson couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
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