AbbVie nears Allergan lockup with EU antitrust approval—and only one selloff required

By | January 11, 2020

AbbVie and Allergan have waited expectantly to seal the deal on their $ 63 billion merger as international watchdogs took a close look at the combo. Now, they’re almost home free. The EU says it’s prepared to give a green light to the deal—and a positive view from U.S. regulators could soon follow.

The European Commission approved AbbVie’s merger with Allergan on the condition the companies sell off Allergan’s late-stage IL-23 inhibitor brazikumab. That stipulation is far from a deal-breaker; Allergan already offered to offload the med, which the EU said conflicted with AbbVie’s IL-23 candidate risankizumab, along with cystic fibrosis med Zenpep. 

In forcing Allergan to give up brazikumab, the EU aims to avoid antitrust concerns in the irritable bowel disease market. 

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“Our decision makes sure that the merger between AbbVie and Allergan will not disrupt the development of a promising innovative treatment for these diseases, said Margrethe Vestager, executive VP of EU Merger Regulation.

Although a final decision from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has yet to come, the EU approval gives the first go-ahead to a megamerger expected to create the fourth-largest drugmaker in the world. In September, the FTC sent a “second request” for information on the deal to both drugmakers, giving hope to a coalition of unions and consumer groups that had asked the agency to “carefully examine” the deal and block it outright if necessary. 

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