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GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis are in separate talks to buy a majority stake in Indian biotechnology firm Shantha Biotech for more than $200 million, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

The European drugmakers are negotiating with France's Merieux Alliance, which owns 80 percent of unlisted Shantha, the newspaper said, citing two unnamed people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be worth up to 12 billion rupees ($237 million), it said.

"The proposed deal will allow the buyer to get a majority stake and management control. Talks are at an initial stage and Merieux is looking at selling its entire 80 percent stake," it quoted one source as saying.

Both Glaxo and Sanofi called the report speculative while Merieux did not respond to an email sent by the paper, the newspaper said.

Shantha's managing director, K.I. Varaprasad Reddy, who holds 17 percent of the firm, said Merieux regularly received collaboration proposals but he was not aware of any sale discussions, the report said.

Shantha is the first Indian company to develop, manufacture and market a recombinant healthcare product in India, its website said.

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