Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Allergan, Pfizer Talks Could Yield Biggest Deal This Year

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Allergan, Pfizer Talks Could Yield Biggest Deal This Year

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Botox maker Allergan Plc confirmed Thursday it's in early talks to combine with drug giant Pfizer Inc. in a deal that, if completed, would cap a remarkable spree of mergers this year that's roiling the health care industry. Allergan, a Dublin, Ireland-based firm with sizable operations in the Los Angeles area, said in a statement that it was approached by Pfizer and the discussions were "friendly, but cautioned there was "no certainty the talks would lead to a merger.

Allergan also declined comment on any possible terms of a deal. Allergan had a total stock-market value of $113 billion as of Wednesday's close, so a Pfizer acquisition likely would have a price tag well above that figure.

That would be the biggest deal of a year in which companies throughout the health care industry have joined forces to reposition themselves as various market and government forces, notably the Affordable Care Act, have changed the growth outlook for the firms' revenues and profits.

Two of the nation's three largest drugstore chains, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Rite Aid Corp., announced a $9.4 billion merger Tuesday.

Major health insurers also have been consolidating. In July, Anthem Inc. reached a $54 billion deal to buy rival Cigna Corp to create the largest U.S. health insurance company.

An Allergan deal could also help lower Pfizer's corporate tax rate, which the company hoped to achieve when it bid for British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc last year, said Jonathan Morgan, head of research at the Edge Consulting Group, an equities research firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions. …

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