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Clifford Chance wins double pharma mandate as Merck buys AZ Electronic Materials and Amdipharm buys Acbur

With the pharmaceutical industry driving a number of recent high value M&A deals, Clifford Chance has won mandates on two significant instructions in the sector, including advising AZ Electronic Materials on a £1.57bn cash offer by German pharma giant Merck.

The transaction was led by corporate partner Tim Lewis and includes antitrust partner Alex Nourry, Luxembourg corporate partner Pierre Gromnicki, employee benefits partner Sonia Gilbert and tax partner David Harkness.

Allen & Overy (A&O) advised Merck, with a team led by corporate partners Richard Browne and Michael Ulmer along with Luxembourg corporate head Mark Feider.

The deal will see AZ shareholders receive 403.5 pence in cash for each AZ share, which values the share capital of AZ, which is a global producer of high quality, high-purity specialty chemical materials for the electronics market, at approximately £1.57bn and suggests an enterprise value of around £1.75bn.

As AZ is incorporated in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the offer is subject to the shared jurisdiction of the Takeover Panel in London and the Luxembourg regulator.

CC previously advised AZ on its £441m initial public offering in 2010, led by capital markets partners Adrian Cartwright and Iain Hunter.

Last week also saw CC announce its role advising Amdipharm Mercury on its $56m acquisition of Sweden-based specialty pharmaceutical company Abcur. Amdipharm is an international specialty pharmaceuticals group formed from the merger of Amdipharm and Mercury Pharma. Clifford Chance acted for private equity firm Cinven when it acquired Amdipharm and Mercury Pharma in 2012.

The CC team advising Amco in the Abcur acquisition was led by corporate partner Andre Duminy and Nordic firm Roschier advised on Swedish law aspects.

Abcur was advised by Swedish firm Lindahl with a team led by corporate partner Johan Karlefors, who specialises in employment life sciences and transport.

Other big pharma deals over the past two months include Novartis’ $1.68bn sale of its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to Barcelona-based Grifols, with A&O acting for Novartis and Proskauer Rose and Osborne Clarke’s Spanish arm for the buyer.

Statistics last month from Dealogic showed that pharma deals have dramatically outperformed the wider global M&A market.