Legal Business Blogs

Pharmaceutical boon: A&O, Proskauer and Osborne Clarke advise on $1.68bn Novartis hive off

The buoyant pharmaceuticals market threw up yet another high-profile healthcare deal this week, as Swiss giant Novartis announced the sale of its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to Barcelona-based Grifols for an estimated $1.68bn, with Allen & Overy (A&O), Proskauer Rose, and Osborne Clarke (OC) all securing advisory roles on the transaction.

Basel-headquartered Novartis was advised by A&O’s M&A head Eric Shube in New York, who previously advised the company on its near $52bn acquisition of a majority stake in NYSE-listed eye-care company Alcon, the largest acquisition ever undertaken by the pharma group.

On the other side, Proskauer advised Grifols, with New York-based corporate partners Peter Samuels and Daniel Ganitsky heading the deal. Samuels’ client portfolio in healthcare also includes Andrx Corporation, where he advised on its $1.9bn merger with Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Actavis).

Grifols also turned to Osborne Clarke’s Spanish arm, with head of life sciences & healthcare Tomás Dagá and M&A partner Raimon Grifols heading the team, alongside partners David Miranda (finance), Silvia Steiner (antitrust), and Núria Martín (capital markets).

Grifols previously worked with the healthcare company, of which he has also been a secretary since 2001 according to Reuters, on its €37m acquisition of a 60% stake in biotechnology firm Progenika in May this year.

This latest transaction, which requires customary regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014.

The deals comes in a week that also saw Irish biopharmaceutical giant Shire instruct US firm Davis, Polk & Wardwell in relation to its $4.2bn purchase of rare disease pharmaceutical company ViroPharma, which is being advised by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Data recently compiled by Bloomberg shows there have been 44 acquisitions of speciality drug companies for more than $500m in the last three years, with Industry specialist firms reaping the rewards, including Global 100 firms Covington & Burling and Latham & Watkins, which recently won key roles on Salix Pharmaceutical’s $2.6bn acquisition of speciality pharma company Santarus, announced last Thursday (7 November).