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Merckle: sale of Ratiopharm is “painful” for our family

Ratiopharm, the generic drug company owned by Germany's Merckle family, has been sold to Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd for an enterprise value of €3.625 billion.

The company, which reported worldwide 2009 revenues of €1.6 billion, is part of the Merckle family's empire that also includes Phoenix Pharmahandel, cement company HeidelbergCement and vehicle manufacturer Kässbohrer.

Ludwig Merckle, the representative of Ratiopharm's family owner said: "The separation of ratiopharm is a painful step for us as the founding family. Taking this as given, I am confident that this is a good solution. Finding the best home for Ratiopharm was a vital element in this process. I believe that joining forces with the world's largest generic company will enable Ratiopharm to continue its path of growth and success."

The sale was necessary following the suicide of Ludwig's father Adolf Merckle in January 2009. The German family business tycoon, who had an estimated fortune of €7 billion, made a series of bad financial bets that left his investment company, VEM, owing creditors €5 billion. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

According to Hans-Joachim Ziems, managing director of VEM and manager of the bidding process: "The successful sale of Ratiopharm is concluded today with the combination of two great companies. We have emphasised from the beginning that the strategic concept of the integration of Ratiopharm into the acquiring company will play a critical role in the decision in addition to the purchase price. Now, we have succeeded in putting the company under the strategic umbrella of Teva as a prosperous unit, while taking into account the interests of the employees, of VEM and of the Merckle Group's creditors."

On a pro forma basis, the new, combined company would have had 2009 revenues of $16.2 billion. Teva expects to complete the transaction by year-end 2010.

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