Allergan shareholders back planned takeover by AbbVie

Allergan announced Monday that its shareholders have voted in favour of approving AbbVie's proposed $63-billion acquisition of the company. "More than 99% of the votes cast at both a special court-ordered meeting of shareholders and at an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders were in favour of the transaction, representing in each case approximately 68.6% of the shares outstanding," Allergan stated.

Brent Saunders, chief executive at Allergan, said that shareholders gave "overwhelming support" for the combination with AbbVie, adding the merger will "create a leading biopharmaceutical company with a diversified portfolio." Allergan reiterated that the cash and stock deal, which represents a total consideration of $188.24 per share, is expected to be finalised in early 2020.

Late last month, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made a second request to the companies for additional information about the pending transaction. Allergan has also said it plans to divest its investigational inflammatory bowel disease candidate brazikumab, as well as the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency therapy Zenpep (pancrelipase), in connection with the deal, regardless of whether regulators request such a move or not. Meanwhile, AbbVie has said it does not believe the FTC will force it to sell the psoriasis drug Skyrizi (risankizumab).

US senators have asked the FTC to look more closely into multi-billion dollar mergers in the pharmaceutical industry in the wake of this and other recent takeovers, including Bristol-Myers Squibb's pending $74-billion deal for Celgene, which recently agreed to offload Otezla (apremilast) for $13.4 billion in a bid to ease antitrust concerns.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: AbbVie eases forward on post-Allergan strategy, and ViewPoints: Amgen agrees to book Bristol-Myers Squibb's big bet on TYK2

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