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Soros exits Amarin as $2bn Teva buyout touted

WALL Street titan and billionaire investor George Soros has flipped his stake in €1.5bn-valued, Nasdaq-listed Irish drug Amarin in recent weeks.

Soros Asset Management bought a €3m stake in the company earlier this year, but new filings indicate that he no longer holds the stake. Last week Israeli pharmaceutical firm Teva and drug giant Astra Zeneca were linked with a buyout of the firm ahead of much delayed patent protection for its fat-busting drug.

Soros was not the only canny investor to sell down a stake in the company as takeover speculation did the rounds. Louis Bacon, the hedge fund manager who spent $175m on a Colorado ranch, has slashed his stake.

Bacon's vast hedge fund Moore Capital sold more than 90 per cent of its shares in the drug company in the last quarter, according to filings.

Mark Kingdon's Kingdon Capital also trimmed its stake in Amarin.

Well-placed sources have indicated that Amarin will put itself up for sale in coming weeks following the regulatory rubberstamping. It is understood the drug firm has been approached by a number of major pharmaceutical players. Sources have told the Sunday Independent that Amarin is not interested in partnerships with other companies, preferring a complete sale.

Amarin was set up by a number of heavy hitters from rival Irish firm Elan. It was chaired by Tom Lynch. Former Icon founder John Climax also served as a board member.

The pharma business attracted backing from some of Ireland's wealthiest tycoons and entrepreneurs including the late Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair, and billionaire Dermot Desmond. Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis also bought into Amarin in 2009 through his Tavistock investments vehicle.

Sunday Indo Business