Barr Pharmaceuticals has completed its objective of becoming the world’s third-largest generic drug manufacturer via the completion of its takeover of Croatian company Pliva.

In a statement released this morning, Pliva confirmed that Barr now owns or has binding commitments to acquire 92% of its share capital, fulfilling the terms of its sweetened $2.5 billion takeover offer, made last month.

Barr originally offered $2.1 billion for Pliva, trumping an earlier $1.6 billion bid by Icelandic rival Actavis. The latter struck back with a higher offer but ducked out of the bidding after Barr tabled its final 820 kuna-a-share bid.

Barr always maintained its offer was superior, as it brought together complementary businesses with limited overlap in products and markets. The US company has also committed to maintaining Pliva's facilities and will base its European headquarters in Croatia.

Combining Pliva’s presence in Europe with Barr’s strength in the USA is designed to give the combined company the geographic reach it needs to compete with the top two generic players, Teva and Sandoz, which have themselves been adopting a strategy of growth by acquisition in recent years.

“The combined company will have a presence in over 30 countries and will employ approximately 8,000 people. It will have annual revenue of approximately $2.4 billion,” said Barr.

But some analysts insist that, for Barr, winning Pliva is a Pyrrhic victory, as it is overpaying for a business that is only just emerging from the disruption of being transformed from a generic/branded drug hybrid to a generic pure-play.