J&J scoops up Swiss drug maker for $30bn
Acquisition of Actelion brings additional diversity
It will make J&J a leader in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
JOHNSON & Johnson (J&J) agreed to buy Actelion for $30 billion (R400bn) and spin off the Swiss drug maker’s research and development operations, clinching its largest deal ever to become a leader in medicines treating a rare type of high blood pressure.
J&J, already the world’s biggest maker of healthcare products, is fulfilling its goal of adding a new drug category with the transaction and dealing a blow to France’s Sanofi, which had also sought to acquire Actelion.
The deal is expensive, compared to recent industry takeovers such as Pfizer’s acquisition of Medivation and AbbVie’s purchase of Pharmacyclics, according to an analysis from Bloomberg Intelligence.
J&J will begin a tender offer to buy shares of Allschwil, Switzerland-based Actelion for $280 each in cash, the companies said.
The price, which equals 280.08 Swiss francs (R3 728.47), is 23 percent above Wednesday’s closing level.
The R&D operations will be spun off to Actelion shareholders as a new publicly traded company, with J&J keeping a 16 percent stake.
The deal caps weeks of discussions interrupted for several days after New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J walked away on December 13, only to return to the negotiating table about a week later.
Access to Actelion’s drugs Tracleer, Opsumit and Uptravi, which all treat life-threatening pulmonary arterial hypertension, will make J&J a leader in the disease and help it expand beyond autoimmune, heart and cancer drugs.
Actelion shares surged as much as 22 percent in Zurich. They were up 21 percent to 275 francs at 9.21am, after having climbed 68 percent since in early November. J&J ended Wednesday at $112.80 in New York, capping a 11.5 percent increase in the past year.
Meanwhile, Sanofi is left empty-handed for the second time after losing out on cancer treatment maker Medivation to another US giant, Pfizer, in August.
Actelion was founded 20 years ago by chief executive Jean-Paul Clozel, his wife Martine Clozel and a team of scientists who split from Roche Holding.
The discovery of the blockbuster Tracleer propelled it over a decade ago to becoming a leader in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Uptravi and Opsumit followed. – Bloomberg
A Johnson & Johnson building in Irvine, California. The company has acquired Swiss drug maker Actelion for $30 billion.