AstraZeneca to acquire US drug firm for £293m

Suzie Neuwirth
FTSE 100-listed AstraZeneca’s shares rose three per cent yesterday after it agreed to buy US cardiovascular drug firm Omthera Pharmaceuticals for up to $443m (£293m).

The British-Swedish firm will pay $12.70 per share for the New Jersey-based speciality company, equating to around $323m. This represents a premium of 88 per cent on Omthera’s closing price last Friday.

Omthera shareholders will receive an extra $120m dependent on the success of a new cardiovascular drug Epanova or meeting sales targets.

Goldman Sachs is advising Omthera on the deal, led by Lorence Kim and Peter Michelsen in the US.

“The acquisition is not a huge deal for AstraZeneca given the size of the company, so the high premium on Omthera’s closing price becomes less of an issue,” Nicolas Ziegelasch, analyst at Killik & Co, told City A.M.

“However, the acquisition will be an interesting stand alone product for AstraZeneca and also adds to its existing product range. I think it demonstrates that the company is looking at ways to expand its portfolio, especially after some of its patents expired in the first quarter.”

AstraZeneca’s sales fell by 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, after losing exclusivity on key medicines.

The firm’s shares closed up 2.73 per cent at 3,521.50p yesterday.