Breakingviews

Healthcare M&A pumped after Obamacare booster shot

July 2, 2015

The U.S. top court decision upholding medical-coverage subsidies signals the official start of a race to consolidate. Centene and Health Net’s $6.3 bln deal gives the insurers an early lead. Big rivals like Cigna may catch up as the industry accepts that reform is here to stay.

Mega-rejections signal M&A’s Taylor Swift moment

June 22, 2015

U.S. health insurer Cigna brushed off a $54 bln takeover bid from Anthem while pipeline operator Williams spurned Energy Transfer’s $53 bln approach. Meantime, the 25-year-old pop idol forced Apple to pay up for music. In a hot market like this, love won’t be unrequited forever.

CVS-Omnicare portends lower doses of pharmacy M&A

May 21, 2015

The drugstore giant’s $10 bln purchase of the pharma services firm gives it entrance to nursing homes and expands specialty medicine distribution. But the increasingly concentrated industry is already raising antitrust concerns. The era of frantic mergers may be nearing an end.

TPG’s $8 bln drug sale far from generic

May 18, 2015

With the sale of Par Pharmaceutical, a maker of off-brand medicines, the buyout firm will generate an eight-fold return on its investment in three years. Though it’s a rare development, the eagerness of buyers like Endo International means more sellers are bound to benefit.

Danaher breakup eases sting of pricey Pall deal

May 13, 2015

The $60 bln dentures-to-lasers concern is not cutting enough costs to justify its $13.8 bln pounce for the filter maker. But boss Tom Joyce’s surprise decision to voluntarily split Danaher in two dangles the prospect of better value for shareholders. The trick is to deliver.

Pure play gets new spin in filter maker M&A

May 13, 2015

Suitors may be willing to splash out $13 bln for Pall, the largest publicly traded air and water purification company. That’s punchy and cost cuts might not cover the premium. But Pall’s scarcity value, profitability and burgeoning biotech customer base make it a tempting target.

Pharma Arbageddon fears keep traders on sidelines

April 27, 2015

Teva is after Mylan, which wants Perrigo. Such multibillion-dollar hostile deals are usually catnip for M&A punters. Recent failures have made them skittish, though. And these two battles come with cross-border complexity, antitrust and a poison pill. No wonder arbs are wary.

$12.8 bln prescription may clear up pharmacy M&A

March 30, 2015

UnitedHealth should generate savings worth more than the 27 pct premium it’s paying for drug middleman Catamaran. But United is playing catch-up. And its target is usually a buyer. Catamaran’s capitulation indicates benefits managers no longer need a dose of dealmaking.

Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts

March 16, 2015

By sweetening its offer for Salix, the acquisitive drugmaker now backed by hedgie Bill Ackman put rival suitor Endo on the mat. The extra cash and a balance sheet reeling from the Allergan deal leave the business model looking wobbly. Valeant may have just rung its own bell too.

AbbVie CEO may have overpaid again in $21 bln deal

March 5, 2015

Richard Gonzalez, the pharma firm’s boss, shelled out $1.6 bln last year to get out of a hard-won bid for Shire. Now he has come out on top in an intensely competitive biotech auction. AbbVie may get a blockbuster drug, but at a high cost: It must share profits with rival J&J.