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Teva CFO Susskind: Teva has cash to burn on buying companies

A purchase that will dwarf the Bayer acquisition is in the works

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) CFO Dan Susskind today declared "The company has a mass of cash we would be delighted to spend on more new companies." The declaration came two days after the company made a bid for Bayer Classics. Teva provided no figures, but investment bank Leader DS estimates the purchase at €300 to €400. Investment bank Nessuah Zannex values the acquisition at €200 to €240.

Teva has $814 million in its cash till, and Bayer is estimated to be the smaller of the offers planned by Teva. "We are constantly looking into possible acquisitions," says Susskind, "as they are an integral part of our growth." He says the range of generics companies they've looked at is wide and includes different size companies, operating in Teva's two principal markets, Europe and the U.S.

Market estimates are Teva is planning a $800 million to $900 million acquisition. These estimates jive with estimates a month ago that a possible acquisition candidate is Ivax Pharmaceuticals generic division. The American drug manufacturer is valued at $5 billion, and its generic division, into which Teva is expected to buy, is said to be worth $1.2 billion. Since this is a major deal it may become a share swap, an unfavorable option for Teva. Susskind neither confirmed nor denied the news.

According to the CFO, "we are not talking about companies with which we are already in touch. In Bayer's case we made an exception since the company made the offer to its labor unions, which made the offer official."

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Susskind believes Teva will soon announce Bayer has accepted its offer. Bayer Classics is the third largest generic company in France, the leader being Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK, DE:MRCG). Teva intends to use the company for its local needs only. "In general, we want to create 'centers of excellence' rather than make the same drug in a few countries," says Susskind. Bayer has the advantage of operating in the local market as well.