Swedish drugmaker Meda has agreed to acquire Italy-based Rottapharm Madaus for around €2.3bn as part of its strategy to boost its profits and its presence in emerging markets.

The deal comes only a few weeks after the Italian firm abandoned its floatation plans.

It is the biggest acquisition Meda has made to date.

The CEO of Meda recently outlined the company’s strategy for progress in an industry that sees a flurry of mergers and acquisitions, saying that the company prefers "to eat and not to be eaten".

In line with this strategy, the company rejected a takeover approach from Mylan Inc. and shortlisted about ten companies for a possible acquisition.

Meda seeks to double its size in two years and strengthen its position in crucial segments of respiratory medicines, dermatology treatments and over-the-counter products.

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"Meda seeks to double its size in two years and strengthen its position in crucial segments of respiratory medicines, dermatology treatments and over-the-counter products."

The transaction comprises a cash payment of more than €1.64bn, 30 million Meda shares valued at €357m and another payment of €275m in January 2017.

Subject to customary antitrust approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Following the completion of the transaction, the Rovati family, which owns Rottapharm, will own a 9% stake in the company.

Meda CEO Jorg-Thomas Dierks said: "The acquisition of Rottapharm is an important step in creating a stronger, improved Meda.

"The combined business will have an improved Rx / Cx balance and increased investment opportunities.

"This acquisition is in-line with our strategic priorities to execute value-accretive M&A, invest in consumer healthcare and emerging markets."

Earlier this year, Meda approached Rottapharm for an acquisition of the company, but the Rovati family rejected the offer and went ahead with IPO plans.

However, the plans for a 25% equity did not result in the anticipated valuation, which led the the family to resume the acquisition talks with Meda, reports Bloomberg.

Rothschild is acting as financial advisor to Meda, while ReedSmith is the legal advisor in the transaction.

Pavesi Gitti Verzoni is acting as legal advisor to Rottapharm Madaus, while Tremonti-Vitali-Romagnoli-Piccardi is its tax advisor.