DealZone

Deals wrap: Dealmakers play it safe

USA/Bankers taking part in the Reuters Global M&A Summit this week told correspondents Quentin Webb and Victoria Howley that despite a recent pickup in global dealmaking, economic fragility, natural disaster and political tumult in the Middle East are hurting corporate confidence and holding back a more robust M&A recovery.

“A new guard of private equity bosses has emerged at the top of the industry, striving to make their business more open before investors and policy makers, and alter preconceptions of this at times secretive industry,” writes Reuters private equity reporter Simon Meads.

Pfizer said it struck a deal to sell its Capsugel unit, the world’s largest maker of hard capsules, to private equity firm KKR & Co for nearly $2.38 billion.

Deutsche Boerse won’t make a decision on a higher bid for NYSE Euronext until the U.S. exchange’s board reacts to last week’s counter-offer from Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange, sources said.

Struggling pizza chain Sbarro said it filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, in a move aimed at eliminating about $200 million of its debt.

Deals wrap: Pfizer mixing medicines

People walk past the Pfizer World headquaters in New York, February 3, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidPfizer has agreed to buy King Pharmaceuticals for $3.6 billion. *View article *View WSJ blog on who’s benefiting from the deal *View Forbes blog on why the deal seems bad for Genzyme

L’Oreal may be bidding for Avon, the Daily Mail reported. Avon shares jumped 6 percent on the news. *View article

The Australia dollar’s surge to 28-year highs could cause  a headache for Foster’s wine business bidders. *View article

IMS deal shows life, if not strength, in leveraged buyouts

(Recasts lead)

If a deal can’t get done with the backing of Canada’s pension fund and capitalism’s mightiest bank, then the leveraged buyout market would truly be dead.

So it is with limited fanfare that DealZone welcomes the buyout of IMS Health by Canada’s public pension plan and Goldman Sachs as a sign of the market’s return to health. Green shoots in the LBO patch are hardly growing all jack-and-the-beanstalk, but putting together $4 billion for the prescription drug sales data provider is not just ice on the moon either.

Excluding debt, the $22-a-share cash deal is the biggest leveraged buyout since Bristol-Myers Squibb sold its ConvaTec unit to Avista Capital and Nordic Capital just over a year ago for $4.1 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Rewarding corporate excellence

The heroes who blow whistles when they see corporate malfeasance have long been underpaid. They take on tremendous personal and professional risk and far too few wind up being played by Russell Crowe on the big screen. So it feels good to applaud the $51.5 million windfall John Kopchinski is getting for his six-year legal battle with Pfizer, the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company, which resulted in a record $2.3 billion penalty for drug pushing transgressions.

Our reporter Bill Berkrot spoke with the former Pfizer sales representative and Gulf War veteran. You’ll be happy to know the news hasn’t gone to his head. Kopchinski celebrated by having a family portrait photograph taken. “We’re going to be staying right here in San Antonio in the same house, and my wife tells me when we go to the movies we’re still getting one tub of popcorn — the large tub,” he told Berkrot in a telephone interview.

It’s nice to know that people who have their hearts in the right place can earn as much as the bosses they stand up to.  While it’s always welcome to see people act out of altruism, perhaps the prospect of a big pay off might encourage more executives and employees to behave like better citizens.

Pet business

DogAttention cats and dogs: this deal affects you. 

Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim is now the front-runner to buy certain animal health assets of Fort Dodge, which makes drugs like ProMeris, ProHeart 6 and the Duramune vaccine line, sources told Reuters

The assets are being sold by Wyeth to gain approval for its $68 billion merger with Pfizer. 

Wyeth is not selling its entire Fort Dodge business, just certain assets within the unit that are valued at roughly $400 million to $500 million, the sources said.  

Pfizer seen circling top Turkish drug company

From Acquisitions Monthly

Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceuticals company, is lining up Turkey’s largest drugs company, Abdi Ibrahim, for a deal, according to an M&A banking source.

There are no talks so far, and what form a potential tie-up would take is not yet known.

Only last month the president of Pfizer’s emerging markets business unit revealed that the drugs company was considering new acquisitions.

Another deal in healthcare: what’s the magic pill?

pillsAs dealmakers everywhere struggle to get deals done, the healthcare industry seals yet another one.

Express Scripts has agreed to buy health insurer WellPoint’s prescription business for $4.68 billion in a significant expansion for the U.S. pharmacy beenfit manager. The deal will be a concoction of cash and up to $1.4 billion in common stock, and will generate more than $1 billion of incremental EBITDA.

This comes on the heels of Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, Merck’s $41.1 billion takeover of Schering Plough and Roche Holding’s $46.8 billion buyout of Genentech. Granted, this isn’t a pharma deal, but it still falls under the umbrella of the healthcare sector.

Good medicine for Morgan Stanley

USA/Morgan Stanley‘s jump from 10th to first in our M&A league table should put them on cloud nine. The first quarter was busy with drug deals, and Morgan Stanley was in on the biggies: advising Wyeth on its $64.5 billion acquisition by Pfizer, and Schering Plough on its $46 billion takeover by Merck. And with the ink still to arrive on the paper of both deals, more good stuff could be on the horizon. The trick for Morgan Stanley, and anyone wanting to take down the king of the hill, is to spot and exploit the trend.******If drug deals remain du jour — and many expect the sector to stay hot, despite all the swallowing going on — the trend will certainly be toward Biotech. The markets for biologics and pipeline-filling cancer treatments have been strong in the face of expected government action to lower doctor and drug bills.******The heightened merger activity in Big Pharma has switched the tables a bit in the sector. After Roche’s nearly $47 billion acquisition of Genentech, analysts became increasingly convinced that the remaining big biotechs like Celgene, Gilead, Genzyme, Biogen Idec and Amgen could emerge as buyers, given that traditional Big Pharma is either digesting deals or just not so big anymore.******Christopher Kaufman; DealZone Editor******Deals of the Day:******* Drug maker Lupin Ltd said it has acquired a 51 percent stake in Multicare Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc, marking the Indian firm’s foray into the $2.5 billion Philippines pharmaceuticals market.******* Britain-based dairy products maker Dairy Crest said it had sold its 49 percent stake in Yoplait Dairy Crest (YDC) to the Yoplait Group for 63.5 million pounds ($92.66 million) and that it would use the cash to reduce debts.******* Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said its North American unit, VAE Nortrak had acquired U.S-based Leading Enterprises Inc, a supplier of speciality components for railway tracks, as part of a plan by the company to expand its railway division.******(PHOTO: A sign is pictured on Wall St. near the New York Stock Exchange in New York November 25, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson )

The next best drug deal

USA/After eight months of playing hard to get, cancer drug maker Genentech has agreed to be bought by Roche for $95 per share — a price Roche didn’t think it would have to pay. The strength of the dollar makes the deal even more expensive for Switzerland-based Roche, but it may feel it got off easy, given talk that Genentech management might hold out for as much as $120 per share.

Following Pfizer‘s bid for Wyeth and Merck‘s offer for Schering-Plough, that makes nearly $160 billion in Big Pharma deals so far this year. The last two big U.S. pure pharma companies still unattached are Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly. Both are probably feeling a bit lonely, particularly Bristol, which installed a dealmaker CEO a couple of years ago.

Bristol and Lilly, the grande dames of the industry, face increasing competition from generics and are struggling to keep their pipelines pumped up. They’ve been hunting for exciting biotechs and makers of hot new biologic drugs, preferably in cancer or another big disease market, as a matter of survival. Lilly already has some exposure here, having bought Erbitux maker ImClone last year for a far less exciting $6.5 billion.

Drugs cure Morgan Stanley’s league table woes

ZetiaMorgan Stanley is bouncing back up in the global league tables for mergers advisory work after taking a hit to its rankings last year.

The investment bank has taken the No. 1 spot based on deal volume globally so far this year, according to latest Thomson Reuters data.

Morgan Stanley was one of the advisors, besides JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, in the latest blockbuster pharma deal – the $41 billion offer for Schering-Plough by Merck. That came on top of its role as the advisor — along with Evercore — to Wyeth in the drug company’s $68 billion takeover by rival Pfizer.