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Latham, Matheson, Davis Polk and Arthur Cox close $8.5bn Actavis Warner Chilcott acquisition after competition fears

Despite fears that the US federal regulator would block pharma giant Actavis Inc’s $8.5bn acquisition of Dublin-based Warner Chilcott the deal, which saw Latham & Watkins and Matheson advise Actavis opposite Davis Polk & Wardwell and Arthur Cox, has closed this month.

The Federal Trade Commission at the end of September settled charges that the deal would be anticompetitive, after Actavis agreed to sell its rights and assets related to three oral contraceptives and an osteoporosis treatment.

The deal saw Latham field a heavyweight multi-jurisdictional team including Orange County-based corporate partners Scott Shean and Charles Ruck, corporate partner Stephen Amdur (New York), global chair of the firm’s international tax practice Nicholas DeNovio (Washington, DC) and fellow tax partner Laurence Stein (Los Angeles).

Matheson’s corporate head Patrick Spicer led a five-partner team including George Brady (corporate), Pat English and Shane Hogan (both business and inward investment), and Fergus Bolster (corporate), with tax advice from the Matheson’s head of US offices John Ryan.

This is the latest of a series of high profile deals for Dublin-headquartered Matheson, which recently advised Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three Ireland on its €780 million acquisition of Telefonica Ireland, which trades as O2 Ireland.

Davis Polk & Wardwell also fielded a heavyweight team for Warner Chilcott, including New York corporate partners Michael Davis, Oliver Smith, James Elworth and Lee Hochbaum, while Arthur Cox advised on Irish law.

Actavis and Warner Chilcott combined under a new company incorporated in Ireland, and shares of the company will trade under the Actavis brand on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock-for-stock deal creates a global pharmaceutical company with combined revenue capabilities of $11bn and the third-largest speciality pharmaceutical business in the US, with approximately $3bn in annual revenue.

Paul Bisaro, president and CEO of Actavis, said: ‘This enhanced business segment is uniquely positioned to meet the healthcare needs of patients around the world — particularly as a leader in women’s health.’