Big pharma dominates M&A

March 10, 2009

Merck’s $41.1 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough made pharmaceuticals the M&A heavyweight in 2009, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Pharmaceutical M&A topped $115 billion this year, accounting for one-third of all deal volume. The Merck-Schering deal was the sixth largest pharma deal ever and the second largest M&A deal this year following Pfizer’s $68 billion purchase of Wyeth.

The record books could be rewritten again soon as Roche began talks to acquire the rest of Genentech it does not already own for $46.7 billion, a source familiar with the situation said. That saga, which began last summer, could come to a close later on Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The largest pharma deals ever? Pfizer’s $88.8 billion acquisition of Warner-Lambert Co in 1999, Glaxo Wellcome Plc’s $78.8 billion purchase of SmithKline Beecham in 2000, and Sanofi’s $65.7 billion purchase of Aventis in 2004.

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