The battle to buy the generics drugmaker Ratiopharm is drawing to a conclusion and reports in the German newspaper claims that the most likely purchasers are Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Pfizer.

A report in Handelsblatt says that the two drug majors and EQT, the private equity arm of Sweden's Wallenberg family, are set to file binding offers for the world's fourth-largest generics firm in the next few weeks. However the newspaper, citing financial sources, reports that EQT’s chances are seen as slim because it would gain fewer synergies from the deal and has less financial fire power than its rivals.

It appears that a number of private equity firms, thought to include Advent International, Permira, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, have dropped out of the race for Ratiopharm. The company is being sold by the conglomerate formerly run by German billionaire Adolf Merckle, who committed suicide at the start of 2009 and the winning bid is expected to be around the 3 billion euro mark.