Drugmaker Valeant close to buying Salix – source

The head offices of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. are seen in Laval, QuebecBy Nadia Damouni NEW YORK (Reuters) – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is close to a $ 10.2 billion deal to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd, according to a person directly familiar with the matter. The agreement with Salix, known for its irritable bowel syndrome drug Xifaxan, for around $ 160 per share could come as early as next week, the source said on Friday, requesting not to be identified as the matter is confidential. Salix's stock jumped 4.1 percent to $ 156.97 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. A deal of that size would be the largest ever for Valeant, which lost a takeover contest for Allergan Inc last year.

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