Teva to buy Cephalon for over $6 billion, tops Valeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd struck a deal to acquire U.S. specialty drugmaker Cephalon Inc for more than $6 billion, topping an unsolicited bid by Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc and boosting its brand-name drug business.

Teva's $81.50-a-share deal is a nearly 12 percent premium over Valeant's $73-a-share offer, which Valeant made public on March 29.

Israel-based Teva is best known as the world's largest maker of generic drugs, but it also has a significant business selling brand medicines that have patent protection. Adding CEPHALON (CEPH.NQ)s pain, sleep and cancer drugs will help Teva reduce its dependence on its big-selling Copaxone multiple sclerosis medicine, which faces increasing competitive threats.

The deal is not conditioned on financing and is expected to be completed in the third quarter, the companies said.

Cephalon had urged shareholders to rebuff Valeant's overtures, and Cephalon shares had been trading above the Canadian company's offer.

Cephalon shares rose 5.5 percent to $81.25 in premarket trading. Teva shares rose 3.9 percent after the announcement.

Cephalon Chief Executive Officer Kevin Buchi said the deal with Teva followed a review of a wide range of strategic options.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace)