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Abbvie Buys Allergan in $63 Billion Drug Deal; Here’s a Look at 7 Biggest Pharma Sector Acquisitions

The two drug makers aim to create a combination to deliver new sources of growth that they have struggled to find on their own.

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Updated:June 26, 2019, 2:16 PM IST
Abbvie Buys Allergan in $63 Billion Drug Deal; Here’s a Look at 7 Biggest Pharma Sector Acquisitions
Representative Image (Photo Credit: AFP)

AbbVie Inc. on Tuesday agreed to buy Allergan Plc for about 63 billion dollars in one of the biggest mergers in the healthcare industry. The two drug makers aim to create a combination to deliver new sources of growth that they have struggled to find on their own. Big deals in the pharmaceutical sector are normally responses to perennial challenges of growth, research and development, and competition. Here’s a look at the seven largest mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry:

Pfizer – Warner-Lambert ($90 billion)

In 1999, Pfizer announced that it will acquire Warner-Lambert in an all-stock deal. The union, at that time, created the largest drug company in the US and the second largest worldwide behind Switzerland’s Novartis when ranked by sales. Pfizer agreed to exchange 2.75 of its shares for each Warner-Lambert share, valuing the deal at $90 billion. The new company kept Pfizer’s name and was based in New York City, where Pfizer was headquartered.

Celgene – Bristol-Myers Squibb ($74 billion)

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene Corp. announced in early 2019 that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire Celgene in a cash and stock transaction with an equity value of approximately $74 billion. The acquisition is still pending and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2019.

Glaxo Wellcome – SmithKline Beecham ($72 billion)

In January 2000, British pharmaceutical companies Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham announced they would be merging their operations in a stock swap arrangement worth nearly $72 billion. After the merger, Glaxo SmithKline became the world’s largest drug company.

Allergan – Actavis ($70.5 billion)

Actavis, in March 2015, announced that it completed the acquisition of Allergan Inc in a cash and equity transaction valued at approximately $70.5 billion. The combination created one of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies by sales revenue. Actavis later adopted Allergan Plc as its new global name.

Pfizer – Wyeth ($68 billion)

In 2009, Pfizer announced that it has signed a deal to acquire the smaller drug maker Wyeth for $68 billion. The acquisition was followed by tens of thousands of job cuts. The New York-based Pfizer, which was already the world's leading drug maker then, became even larger following the cash-and-stock deal with Wyeth.

Aventis – Sanofi-Synthelabo ($65 billion)

After a bitter takeover battle, France’s then largest drug maker Aventis SA agreed to the acquisition deal proposed its smaller rival Sanofi-Synthelabo SA for about $65 billion in cash and stock in 2004. The combination of the two firms formed the world’s third-largest pharmaceuticals company.

Takeda Pharmaceutical – Shire ($62 billion)

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. completed its $62 billion acquisition of Shire Plc in 2018. It also included Shire’s debt, bringing the acquisition closer to $80 billion. Takeda’s purchase was the world’s biggest announced acquisition of 2018, transforming the 237-year-old Japanese company into a top 10 drug maker with lucrative therapies for rare diseases and a sizable footprint in the US.

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