Exclusive: J&J discussing breaking up Actelion in an acquisition - sources
By Carl O'Donnell, Greg Roumeliotis and Sophie Sassard
(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote) is negotiating a deal to acquire Swiss biotechnology company Actelion Ltd (ATLN.S: Quote) that would separate its commercialized portfolio from its research and development assets, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The deal structure would allow J&J to acquire Actelion with a cash offer in the region of $260 per share, a little more than what it had offered when it walked away from negotiations earlier this month. It also would allow Actelion shareholders to benefit financially from Actelion's R&D pipeline, the people said.
Under the deal being discussed, Actelion's R&D pipeline would be placed in a new publicly traded company, the people said. The exact ownership of the new company, and whether Actelion Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel would head it, are among the details still being negotiated, the people said.
A deal could be finalized by late January, they said, cautioning that negotiations could still end unsuccessfully. The sources asked not to be identified because the details are confidential.
J&J and Actelion declined to comment.
Actelion shares ended trading in Zurich on Thursday near flat at 229.90 Swiss Francs ($224.6), giving the company a market capitalization of $23.5 billion. J&J shares were up 0.5 percent at $115.62, giving it a market capitalization of $315 billion.
Actelion said last week it had entered into exclusive talks with J&J about a strategic transaction. J&J had pulled out of negotiations with Actelion over price disagreements earlier this month, temporarily allowing France's Sanofi SA (SASY.PA: Quote) to engage in one-on-one acquisition talks with Actelion.
Clozel, who worked for Roche Holding AG (ROG.S: Quote) for 12 years before founding Actelion in 1997, and his wife, Chief Scientific Officer Martine Clozel, have built up a world-leading drug portfolio at Actelion to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. The company is Europe's biggest biotechnology drug maker. Continued...