Pfizer buying Hospira for about $15.23 billion

Author: Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Pfizer is buying Hospira for approximately $15.23 billion, saying it is a good fit with its established global pharmaceutical business.

The buyout will also help Pfizer tap into the growing market for biosimilars, which are cheaper versions of biologic drugs that are used to treat conditions such as anemia.

Shares of both companies rose in morning trading Thursday.

Hospira Inc., based in Lake Forest, Illinois, is a provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies. It also offers biosimilars. Hospira announced last month that it was seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Retacrit, a proposed biosimilar to the anemia treatments Epogen from Amgen and Procrit from Janssen.

Pfizer Inc. will pay $90 per share in cash, which is a 39 percent premium to Hospira’s Wednesday closing price of $64.80. The companies put the deal’s value at about $17 billion including debt.

Pfizer – which is the world’s second-largest drugmaker by revenue – said Thursday that it will use its global network to help expand Hospira’s reach to Europe and key emerging markets. Hospira’s products are currently distributed mostly in the U.S.

Pfizer, a Dow component whose products include Viagra and painkiller Celebrex, has been under pressure from investors to boost its share price. The company has sold and spun off big parts of its business over the last few years, including animal health, nutrition and a capsule-making unit. This has helped, but hasn’t satisfied detractors.

That’s pushed CEO Ian Read to attempt Pfizer’s oft-used strategy of doing big deals to quickly boost revenue and cut costs. Analysts have said that since Pfizer’s $119 billion offer for Britain’s AstraZeneca PLC was rejected last May it needed to find another big takeover target.

Read previously said that he’s open to any deals that boost value.

During a conference call on Thursday, Read said that it’s still too early to talk about whether any assets will need to be divested to get the Hospira deal done. John Young, group president of Pfizer’s established global pharmaceutical business, said that the companies’ analysis shows that their businesses are complementary, and that they will work with regulators in order to obtain the necessary approvals.

Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford said in a client note that he believes the Hospira deal is a sign that Pfizer plans to separate its established global pharmaceutical business in 2017. Read said in the call that Pfizer doesn’t believe the acquisition will have an impact on the timing of the split, if the company decides to move forward with one.

Pfizer expects to finance the Hospira transaction with a combination of existing cash and borrowing. There are no financing conditions. The New York company anticipates the acquisition delivering $800 million in annual cost savings by 2018.

The deal is expected to add 10 cents to 12 cents per share to earnings in the first full year after the acquisition closes, with additional accretion expected after that. There is a $500 million termination fee, with the details of the fee to be disclosed in a forthcoming regulatory filing, Pfizer Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio said during the call.

Both companies’ boards unanimously approved the transaction. It still needs approval from Hospira shareholders, who are expected to vote on the buyout in the second quarter. The acquisition is targeted to close in the second half of the year.

Shares of Hospira soared $22.70, or 35 percent, to $87.50 in morning trading. Pfizer’s stock added $1.03, or 3.2 percent, to $33.10.

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