Sources: Abbott sparks Solvay bidding war, UCB may follow

The bidding for Solvay's pharma unit is heating up. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Abbott Laboratories has countered Nycomed's offer for the company. And UCB may be preparing to step in and make it an auction that could break the $7.4 billion mark.

A newly energized Abbott has returned to the table after initially stepping back from a bid for Solvay. The two companies already co-market two drugs and have several overlapping areas that could make a deal more attractive. But both Solvay and UCB also share a big investor in Belgium's Janssen family. And that has spurred UCB to start assembling an offer of its own, sources tell the Journal.

This could all play out very quickly. Solvay's board is expected to meet tomorrow, and a deal could soon follow. Solvay put the pharma business up for sale earlier this year but found little interest--until recently. None of the companies involved have anything to say publicly.

- read the story from the Wall Street Journal