Stada Arzneimittel AG may have denied the story but the rumours that Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is planning a 2 billion euro bid (or around 36 euros per share) for the German generic drugmaker pushed the latter’s share price up almost 20% to the 30 euro mark.

The excitement was sparked by a story in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper which claimed that Stada has approached Deutsche Bank to find it a buyer, while another German paper, Die Welt, also noted that Teva is interested in making an offer.

Stada moved quickly to dismiss the rumours, telling the Frankfurt Stock Exchange “these reports are not correct and do not have any basis.” This stance is in line with comments made by chief executive Hartmut Retzlaff at the company’s recent annual general meeting that Stada has no interest in being taken over and believes it can deliver growth on its own.

Teva has remained tightlipped about the reports but the Israeli firm is always on the look-out for acquisitions. It bought US firm Sicor for $3.4 billion a year and a half ago [[26/01/04f]], but it has just lost its position as the world’s biggest generics drugmaker to Novartis which recently bought Stada’s German rival Hexal [[07/06/05e]] and will soon take over the USA’s Eon Labs [[22/06/05e]] in deals worth $8.3 billion.

It would not be surprising if Teva was interested in Stada given that the latter posted a 21% increase in first-quarter sales to 245 million euros and it is forecasting full-year earnings of 60 million euros. Its performance is bound to attract the attention of other companies and Sanofi-Aventis and Johnson & Johnson have also been mentioned as potential buyers.