Australia’s Mayne Pharma is facing a A$2 billion ($1.5bn) takeover approach from a multinational rival, according to report in the Australian Financial Review.

Mayne said trading in its shares is currently suspended as the company considers a potential transaction which could have a material effect on its share price, indicating that there is truth in the rumour, or that Mayne itself is about to make its own acquisition.

The companies currently being linked to Mayne, which sells generic and speciality cancer drugs, include generic players Teva, Sandoz, Actavis and Barr – the latter fresh from a tussle to acquire Croatian firm Pliva – as well as cancer specialist Hospira. Another school of thought insists that the offer will come from private equity.

The speculation comes against a backdrop of feverish consolidation in the generics sector, with the bigger players snapping up smaller firms to gain broader product portfolios and geographic reach, and mid-stage companies merging to avoid being left behind by the leaders.

So the markets are now waiting with baited breath for the financial announcement, and in the meantime positive product news continues to flow from Mayne. Yesterday the company said it had own approval in the USA for its breast cancer drug epirubicin, a generic version of Pfizer’s Ellence which will address a market estimated at around $68 million a year. Pfizer dropped a lawsuit blocking the introduction of the drug last week.

This followed registration of its oxaliplatin, currently subject to a legal dispute between Mayne and Sanofi-Aventis, in the UK a day earlier. The European market for oxaliplatin has a value of approximately $500 million and oxaliplatin generated sales in the UK of around $21 million last year.

Last week, Mayne reported a net loss from continuing operations of A$31 million on sales up 17% to A$803 million.