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J&J, world's largest healthcare firm, agrees US$30bn deal to buy Actelion, Europe’s biggest biotech group

J&J is paying $280 a share in cash for Actelion, retaining the Swiss firm's commercially available treatments for rare diseases such as pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Actelion will spin off its drug-discovery operations into a separate company called R&D NewCo, in which J&J will initially hold a 16% stake

The world’s largest healthcare firm Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has agreed a US$30bn deal to buy Europe’s biggest biotech firm, Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

J&J is paying $280 a share in cash for Actelion, retaining the Swiss company's commercially available treatments for rare diseases such as an artery disorder known as pulmonary arterial hypertension.

However, Actelion will spin off its drug-discovery operations into a separate company called R&D NewCo, in which J&J will initially hold a 16% stake, with an option to acquire another 16%.

READ: J&J’s change of heart …

The takeover deal comes after J&J had a surprising a change of heart just before Christmas and re-entered acquisition talks with Actelion.

J&J had abruptly bowed out of the bidding process for Actelion earlier in the month after the Swiss firm said that it was “engaged in discussions with another party”.

Actelion had given no details about who the third party was, but press reports at the time suggested it was French firm Sanofi SA.

However, J&J said it had entered into “exclusive negotiations” to acquire the Swiss firm, indicating that other potential suitors had left the process.

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