LONDON (CNNfn) - British pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Wellcome has called off exploratory merger talks with U.S. drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb, according to a published report.
The companies hit a roadblock over who would get the top jobs and which group would assume a dominant role in a combined entity, according to Monday's Financial Times.
Glaxo Wellcome refused to comment on whether it had terminated merger talks with Bristol. Negotiations could have spawned a drug making colossus with more than 8 percent of the $250 billion global prescription drug market. Bristol Myers Squibb has a market capitalization of $118 billion.
Aside from differences over who would be the boss at a merged company, the newspaper also said regulatory concerns may have been a secondary motive for ending the talks.
The newspaper also raised the possibility that Glaxo may have hinted it was talking to Bristol in order to entice its U.K. rival, SmithKline Beecham (SB) into reviving aborted talks with Glaxo.
People familiar with the company told the newspaper Glaxo, faced with consolidation pressure across the industry, has made a merger a strategic priority.
Analysts said Glaxo is probably in talks with several companies over mergers or partnerships - of which the Bristol discussions were simply one example.
Glaxo is one of the world's top two makers of prescription drugs. After the recent expiration of patents for drugs used to treat heartburn and herpes, Glaxo has been focusing on new products for diseases ranging from asthma to AIDS to hepatitis B.