Mylan Said in Late-Stage Talks to Buy Abbott Europe Drug Assets

Jul 11, 2014 8:35 pm ET

July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Mylan Inc. is in late-stage talks to buy some of Abbott Laboratories’ portfolio of established drugs in Europe, said a person familiar with the matter.

The deal could cost several billion dollars and would give Mylan revenue from products that have been on the market for years and are no longer considered hot growth prospects, said the person, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Established drugs typically generate strong profits because they have lower marketing costs than newer ones.

Mylan may try to use the acquisition of the Abbott assets in Europe to reduce its tax burden. U.S. drug makers like Pfizer Inc. recently have been trying to acquire rivals that are domiciled in lower-tax countries to avoid the 35 percent tax rate that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service charges on overseas income.

By acquiring assets that are produced or have intellectual property overseas, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan may by able to lower its tax payments.

This year, Pfizer has tried to change its tax domicile to the U.K. with an unsuccessful bid to acquire AstraZeneca Plc. AbbVie Inc. has held talks this week with Dublin-based Shire Plc in a move to change its tax domicile to Ireland and lower its taxes.

Representatives for Mylan and Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Reuters reported earlier today on the Mylan-Abbott talks.