German chemical company BASF is to acquire Norway's Pronova BioPharma, best-known for its fish oil heart drug Lovaza, in a deal valued at around 664 million euros.

BASF is offering 12.50 Norwegian kroner per share in cash for the omega-3 fatty acids specialist, or 4.85 billion kroner in total, which represents a premium of 24% of Pronova's average share price for the previous six months. The deal has the full support of the latter's management and binding commitments for about 60% of its share capital, including the 50% held by majority shareholder Herkules Private Equity.

Michael Heinz, responsible for BASF's performance products segment, which includes the nutrition and health division, said the acquisition "will significantly strengthen our position in the fast-growing and highly- profitable market for omega-3 fatty acids". He added that "we want to combine the global market reach and experience of BASF with the know-how of Pronova".

The Norwegian group had 2011 sales of 214 million euros, much of which came from Lovaza (omega-3-acid ethyl esters), sold by GlaxoSmithKline in the USA and by Abbott (as Omacor) in Europe. BASF also spoke of Pronova's "strong R&D know-how to develop the next generation of omega-3 solutions – a platform for pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and clinical nutrition".

The transaction, which is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2013, represents something of a return to the pharma fold for BASF. The Ludwigshafen-based group sold its Knoll Pharmaceuticals unit to Abbott in 2001, a deal that included the blockbuster Humira (adalimumab).