J&J Boosts Drug Roster With $30B Actelion Deal

Johnson & Johnson on Thursday announced it would acquire Swiss biotech Actelion for $30 billion in cash, opening up its wallet to secure Actelion's leading portfolio of treatments for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Access to Actelion's drugs Tracleer, Opsumit and Uptravi, which all treat life-threatening pulmonary arterial hypertension, will make J&J a leader in treating the condition and help it expand beyond autoimmune, heart and cancer drugs.

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As part of the largest European takeover in 13 years, Actelion will spin off its research and development unit into a standalone company to be based and listed in Switzerland, under the working title of R&D NewCo. "I don't see Sanofi stepping in with a higher offer at some point, that doesn't make sense any more", he added.J&J will initially hold a 16 percent stake in R&D NewCo and will have rights to an additional 16 percent of the company's equity through a convertible note. It'll also have rights to a drug candidate being developed by the drug discovery unit. By using offshore cash to pay for the acquisition, J&J is also taking steps that might lower its future tax bills as Congress eyes an overhaul of the US tax code. The U.S. behemoth expects the deal to boost its long-term profit growth by as much as 2 percent over analysts' expectations. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, with J&J commencing the tender offer by mid-February.

The agreement means that the American pharmaceutical company will pay $280 per share for the Swiss biotech. J&J ended Wednesday at $112.80 in NY, capping an 11.5% increase in the past year.

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"In making this offer, Johnson & Johnson is recognizing all that has been created at Actelion during the last 20 years, and in particular the quality of our PAH franchise, the potential of our key marketed medicines and our promising late-stage development assets".

Actelion shares had risen 20.3 percent to 273.6 Swiss francs as of 0945 GMT on January 26. However, Johnson & Johnson withdrew from the discussions in mid-December, and Sanofi approached Actelion about a deal. The two companies will host a Webcast/conference call to discuss the acquisition at 8 a.m. ET today here. The CEO is a believer in Actelion's pipeline of experimental medicines, and he and his wife have resisted takeover bids through the years.

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Lazard acted as lead financial advisor to J&J, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch was Actelion's lead advisor. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Homburger AG and SextonRiley LLP are J&J's legal advisers. Legal advisers to Actelion are Niederer Kraft & Frey; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; and Slaughter and May.


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