Published: Thu, December 15, 2016
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

Hungry Sanofi Shouldn't Overpay for Actelion

Furthermore to counterbalance the damages, Paris-based Sanofi tried to takeover Medivation, but rival Pfizer Inc. won the race in August, with a $14 billion bid. However, it reported that "people familiar with the matter had said a deal could value Actelion at as much as $US30 billion".

Actelion's proposed structure would have created a new, larger biotech group uniting the Swiss company with relevant parts of J&J's pharma business, people involved in the talks said.

Actelion is said to have been holding out for a higher offer and also had some issues with the structure of the deal, according to reports.

Actelion confirmed that it is "engaged in discussions with another party regarding a possible strategic transaction", but stressed that "there can be no certainty at this point that any transaction will result".

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A spokesman declined further comment but sources with knowledge of the matter identified Sanofi. That possible partner is likely Sanofi, previously cited as interested in Actelion.

"Winning a bidding war when it comes to acquiring biopharmaceutical companies nearly always equates to way over-paying", wrote Tim Anderson, an Bernstein analyst. "If Actelion were to go out at around $30 billion, this equates to around 13 times sales and 30 times earnings before interest and taxes".

"With its rare disease leadership in PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension), long product lives of key products Opsumit and Uptravi, and revenue growth outlook, we continue to believe that Actelion could be strategically attractive to a number of potential acquirers", Goldman Sachs noted Wednesday. They aim to expand in drugs for multiple sclerosis and diarrhea-causing clostridium difficile, but regulatory approvals for those are years away.

Five years ago, he successfully defended against an effort by activist hedge fund Elliott Management to put Actelion up for sale, questioning his strategy.

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