WRAL Tech Wire and From Wire Reports

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Talecris Biotherapeutics (Nasdaq: TLCR) and Spain-based conglomerate Grifols won tentative U.S. antitrust approval on Monday for a $4.09 billion merger after agreeing to sell some assets.

The move will reduce the number of major companies in the blood-plasma industry to three.

Under a consent agreement with the FTC, the companies agreed to sell a Talecris plant in Melville, N.Y., a division that makes a plasma-derived drug to treat hemophilia, and two plasma collection centers.

The deal creates a new corporate parent for Talecris, North Carolina’s largest biotechnology company. Talecris employs more than 2,200 people in the Triangle.

The accord is still subject to approval by the five-member commission.

The U.S. now accounts for about a third of Grifols’s sales. The acquisition  Talecris would increase that to two-thirds, according to reports. Grifols would have had to pay Talecris a $375 million breakup fee if the FTC had blocked the deal.

Grifols, a Spanish holding company specializing in the pharmaceutical-hospital sector in more than 90 countries, launched its $4 billion bid for Talecris in June 2010. If the deal is approved, Grifols would become the world’s third largest maker of blood plasma products, competing with rivals such as Baxter International and Australia’s CSL, which failed in its bid to buy Talecris.

Talecris makes drugs from blood plasma such as Gamunex and Prolastin to treat auto-immune diseases and other ailments. The company also owns plasma-collection centers.

Grifols gained 71 cents, or 5.3 percent, to 14.08 euros at the 5:30 p.m. close of trading in Madrid, the biggest gain since Dec. 3. Talecris rose 85 cents, or 3 percent, to $28.77 as of 12:15 p.m. EST.

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(Editor’s Note: Bloomberg contributed to this report.)