Swiss Firm Roche Bids $44 B For Calif.'s Genentech

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Deborah Amos has this morning's business news.

DEBORAH AMOS, host:

NPR's business news starts with a biotech deal in the works.

First, it was the $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch. Now, another big trans-Atlantic deal. The Swiss drug company Roche today offered about $44 billion for shares in the San Francisco biotech company Genentech. It's the world's second largest biotech firm. Roche already owns a little over half of Genentech's shares. It bought those shares in the 1990s. And the deal gave Roche access to Genentech's lucrative pipeline of innovative drugs like Avastin.

Big pharmaceutical companies are struggling to develop drugs on their own. Today's offer would give Roche full control over one of the world's most successful biotech firms.

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