Two companies that have felt the squeeze of generic competition in recent years,


(GSK) - Get Report



(BMY) - Get Report

, have reportedly held preliminary merger talks.

The discussions have focused on a framework for how the companies might operate in a merger and are in early stages, with GlaxoSmithKline executives expressing worry about how deep Bristol-Myers's problems run, according to

The New York Times

. The company has tripped up in recent months on several fronts, including agreeing to pay $2 billion for rights to



troubled cancer treatment Erbitux.

According to the


, an executive close to Bristol-Myers said it was unclear whether Chief Executive Peter R. Dolan was willing to sell the company with its stock price as low as it is now. One executive put the chance of such a deal at less than 50%.