NOVARTIS MAY COUNTER CRUCELL OFFER FOR BERNA BIOTECH

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Novartis AG, Europe's second-biggest drugmaker by market value, said it's considering expanding its Chiron Corp. vaccines business with a counter-bid for Berna Biotech AG, which Crucell NV agreed to buy earlier this month. "The combination of Berna and Chiron would offer complementary geographic coverage and product ranges," Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said in an e-mailed statement today.

Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=aAQhelmxdzSM&refer=europe)