Speculation has built that Novator, the investment vehicle owned by Icelandic tycoon Thor Bjorgolfsson, could sell its 80 per cent stake in Actavis after another of Bjorgolfsson’s vehicles went into administration. That vehicle, owned by Bjorgolfsson and his father, had invested heavily in Landsbanki, one of the banks to be seized by the government this month.
Merrill Lynch was retained to study “strategic options” for Actavis, which could include a sale to another company, an acquisition or a public listing. Individuals with knowledge of the process say a sale is unlikely before the end of next year, although several leading drugmakers could be interested. Actavis has more than $4 billion in debts with Deutsche Bank, which were recently renegotiated.
"This is a time when people need to be focusing on other things," Eggertsdottir tells the FT. "It’s clear that there is not a lot of cash available...for acquisitions, either from our side or from other sides to acquire us.”