The proposed marriage between Croatian drugmaker Pliva and American group Barr Pharmaceuticals took a step forward yesterday, after Pliva’s board said it has welcomed Barr’s offer of $83.63 a share.

Barr’s bride price, which also includes a dividend of $2.12, values Pliva at around $2.4 billion, trumping the latest offer from rival suitor Actavis of around $2.3 billion.

Pliva’s board said a coupling with Barr “represents an attractive long-term development perspective,” and has warmed to Barr’s stated commitment of making the firm its key site in Europe. In addition, the board was impressed by Barr’s promise to support Pliva’s investments in research, development and production capacities.

All eyes are now on Actavis, which is widely expected to put in a counter-bid for Pliva, eastern Europe’s largest drugmaker in terms of sales.