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J&J in talks to reduce $1.5 billion Elan deal price

US health-care firm Johnson & Johnson is in talks to cut the price of a $1.5 billion deal with Irish drugmaker Elan Corp, a source familiar with the negotiations said on Sunday.

J&J agreed in July to pay $1 billion for an 18.4% stake in Elan and $500 million for a majority stake in its pipeline of experimental Alzheimer's drugs.

However, Elan and J&J had been widely expected to renegotiate the deal after a court ruled the agreement breached a partnership between Elan and Biogen Idec Inc.

A US judge earlier in September ruled that the deal - which has not yet closed - breaches Elan's 50-50 partnership to sell multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri with Biogen, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company whose shareholders include billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that J&J is attempting to cut at least $100 million off the $1 billion in cash it agreed to pay as part of the deal and that the new terms could be announced in the coming days.

J&J was not immediately available for comment. Elan declined comment. (Reuters)