Actelion's shares jump on report of Sanofi deal nearing

Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:19am EST
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(Reuters) - Shares in Swiss biopharmaceuticals company Actelion (ATLN.S: Quote) surged more than 8 percent to a record high after Bloomberg reported that talks with French suitor Sanofi (SASY.PA: Quote) were nearing an agreement that could be worth about $275 per share.

The potential deal, which could come as soon as next week, would value Actelion at about $29.6 billion, Bloomberg said on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Actelion was in talks with Sanofi about a deal after U.S. healthcare group Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote) abandoned efforts to buy the company.

Actelion's share price was up 8.35 percent at 214 Swiss francs ($208) by 1328 GMT, when Sanofi's was down 2.42 percent at 74.17 euros, underperforming a 0.6 percent gain in the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index <0#.SXDP>.

Sources familiar with the situation have said that Sanofi is likely to offer Actelion shareholders cash plus contingent value rights, a type of security that pays out only if experimental drugs reach certain commercial targets, keeping their owners exposed to some risk of failure.

Several investors in Actelion told Reuters they would push for more information.

Sanofi and Actelion declined to comment.

A deal would mark Sanofi's largest transaction since 2011, when it bought rare disease specialist Genzyme for $20.1 billion.

At the time Sanofi had also proposed cash plus payments tied to the success of the U.S. biotech group's drugs.   Continued...

The company's logo is seen at the headquarters of Swiss biotech company Actelion in Allschwil, Switzerland December 6, 2016.    Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann