Bristol-Myers to buy Amylin for about $5.3 billion

Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:57pm EDT
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By Michele Gershberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will buy biotechnology company Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc for about $5.3 billion in cash, helping Bristol-Myers extend its portfolio of diabetes treatments with the addition of drugs Byetta and Bydureon.

Bristol-Myers said late on Friday it had also reached a follow-on deal with UK-based AstraZeneca Plc to collaborate on developing Amylin's products once the buyout is completed, expanding upon an existing partnership between the two pharmaceutical makers in diabetes treatments. AstraZeneca will pay $3.4 billion in cash for these rights.

Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca already collaborate on several diabetes treatments including Onglyza, and aim to strengthen their position in a growing, multibillion-dollar market. More than 360 million people worldwide have diabetes, with the overwhelming majority suffering from type 2 diabetes, a condition partly attributable to the rise in obesity in many countries.

In a statement, Bristol-Myers Chief Executive Lamberto Andreotti described the deals as a unique way to build on its relationship with AstraZeneca, which "demonstrates Bristol-Myers Squibb's innovative and targeted approach to partnerships and business development."

The boards of directors at Amylin, Bristol and AstraZeneca have approved the two transactions, the companies said.

Amylin began approaching potential buyers in April after rejecting a previous $3.5 billion takeover bid from Bristol-Myers, and facing pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn.

In all, five pharmaceutical giants including AstraZeneca, Novartis AG and Sanofi SA were in the running for Amylin, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.