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Dealwatch: After GSK deal, Linklaters leads for Novartis on $275m sale of influenza vaccines as Bakers acts for CSL

Linklaters and Baker & McKenzie have won lead roles advising on Novartis’ definitive agreement to divest its influenza vaccines business to Australian biotech firm CSL Limited (CSL), for $275m.

Linklaters acted for Novartis with a team including corporate partners Matt Bland and Aisling Zarraga, alongside IP partners John Crozier and Nigel Jones, and New York-based antitrust partner Tom McGrath. Baker & McKenzie represented CSL with M&A partner Jane Hobson leading, alongside IT/commercial partner Duncan Reid-Thomas, IP partner Hiroshi Sheraton, and employment partners John Evason and Jeremy Edwards.

Under the agreement, CSL will acquire Novartis’ influenza vaccines business including the development pipeline. The transaction will be completed subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

Baker & McKenzie’s Hobson said: ‘We are delighted to have partnered with CSL on this transformative acquisition for them, which will see CSL become the number two global player in the worldwide influenza vaccine industry.’

The sale comes after Novartis agreed to divest the non-influenza segments of Novartis Vaccines to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in April this year, after which, Novartis would strengthen the company’s innovative pharmaceuticals business by acquiring GSK oncology products. Magic Circle trio Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters advised on that deal with Freshfields working alongside Linklaters for Novartis.

Novartis chief executive Joseph Jimenez said: ‘In CSL, we have found not only an owner for the influenza business that shares our commitment to protecting public health, but also a strong growth platform for the business and our associates.’

The Novartis influenza vaccines business has delivered almost one billion doses of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines globally over the last 30 years.