Drugmaker Bristol-Myers to buy Celgene for $74 billion

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers to buy Celgene for $74 billion

He says the combined company will be able to enhance its positions across the portfolio, including in the most lucrative but also intensely competitive cancer and immunology and inflammation therapy areas.

New York-based pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb on Thursday announced it would buy USA biotech firm Celgene in a $74 billion cash-and-stock deal, instantly creating a rival to the world's largest drug makers.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Chairman and CEO Giovanni Caforio said in a statement the combined companies would also enjoy "a deep and broad pipeline that will drive sustainable growth". They'll also receive one tradeable contingent value right for each Celgene share, allowing the holder to receive a $9 payment when future regulatory milestones are hit.

Talks opened in September, with Bristol-Myers approaching Celgene, according to a source familiar with the matter.

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Celgene's shares jumped more than 30 percent to $88.95 in premarket trading following the news, Reuters reports, while Bristol's shares fell 9.5 percent to $47.10.

Bristol-Myers said it expects to speed up a share repurchase program of up to about US$5 billion, subject to the closing of the transaction, market conditions and board approval.

If the deal is approved, it would rank as one of the biggest mergers in the biopharma space, exceeding Sanofi's $73.5 billion acquisition of Aventis in 2008 and coming up just short of Glaxo Wellcome's $76 billion merger with SmithKline Beecham in 2000. The cash portion will be funded through a combination of cash on hand and debt financing.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is based in New York City, but has a sizeable presence in New Jersey. LLC is the lead financial adviser to Bristol-Myers, and Evercore and Dyal Co. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is its legal counsel. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is its legal counsel.

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