Botox maker Allergan accepts $66bn Actavis takeover bid as Valeant walks

Joseph Millis
Actavis deal will mean less of a cut to Allergan’s R&D spending
Botox maker Allergan yesterday accepted a $66bn (£42bn) takeover bid from Actavis, creating one of the top 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

The takeover ended a seven-month hostile pursuit by activist investor William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Dublin-based Actavis offer amounted to billions more than Canada’s Valeant was prepared to pay. Valeant said it would walk away from its Allergan campaign shortly after the deal was announced.

Ackman was not available for comment.

The deal marks a surprise win for Allergan, which had fought the Valeant-Pershing alliance in court and among shareholders in one of the healthcare sector’s most complex takeover efforts.

Allergan shares rose 5.3 per cent to close at $209.20. Actavis gained 1.7 per cent to $247.94.

Allergan had argued that the Valeant offer, most recently worth about $54bn, would hurt its shareholders, given the Canadian drugmaker’s history of cutting research and development spending at firms it acquires. Apart from the higher price tag, the Actavis deal came with only $400m in R&D cuts for Allergan, far less than the $900m decrease that Valeant had proposed, the firms said.

Actavis’ approach may help them integrate their operations and ensure some of Allergan’s experimental eye treatments for macular degeneration and glaucoma remain in the pipeline.

“If these bets turn out well, Actavis will be seen as a better call,” said Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse.

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