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U.S. generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (WPI) is close to buying rival Actavis valuing the Swiss-based company at about EUR4.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.
The deal could happen this month, although April is a more likely date, the person said.
"The combination would be a good fit as Watson has a strong footprint in the U.S. and Actavis is well positioned in Europe," the person said.
Spokesmen for Watson and Actavis declined to comment.
Former Iceland-based Actavis is the world's fourth-largest generic drug maker in terms of sales behind Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), Novartis AG's (NVS) unit Sandoz and U.S.-based Myland Inc. (MYL).
Actavis increased its 2011 sales by 8% to about EUR1.84 billion, Chief Executive Claudio Albrecht told Dow Jones Newswires late January. "We are on track to achieve a top-line growth of 13% this year with profits climbing by 18%," he said.
-By Eyk Henning, Dow Jones Newswires, 49-69-29725-108, firstname.lastname@example.org