AstraZeneca to acquire Alexion in a $39 bn cash-and-stock deal

UK biopharmaceuticals major AstraZeneca is acquiring its American peer, Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc (Alexion), in a cash-and-stock deal worth $39 billion, to expand its product portfolio.

The acquisition will be undertaken through a US statutory merger in which 
Alexion shareholders will receive $60 in cash and 2.1243 AstraZeneca American Depositary Shares (ADSs) (each ADS representing one-half of an ordinary share of AstraZeneca for each Alexion share. Based on AstraZeneca's reference average ADR price of $54.14, this implies total consideration to Alexion shareholders of $39 billion or $175 per share.
The cash and ADS consideration represents an about 45 per cent premium to Alexion shareholders based on the closing stock price of Alexion on 11 December 2020 and a 43 per cent premium, based on the 30-day volume-weighted average closing stock price of $122.04 before the merger announcement. 
Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on discovery, development and commercialisation of drugs for the treatment of rare diseases. It is best known for its development of Soliris, a drug used to treat the rare disorders atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. The company is also involved in immune system research related to autoimmune diseases. 
The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition. Subject to receipt of regulatory clearances and approval by shareholders of both companies, the acquisition is expected to close in Q3 2021, and upon completion, Alexion shareholders will own about 15 per cent of the combined company, AstraZenica stated in a release.
"Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases. This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues at Alexion so that we can together build on our combined expertise in immunology and precision medicines to drive innovation that delivers life-changing medicines for more patients," Pascal Soriot, chief executive o AstraZeneca, said:.
AstraZeneca has built a growing scientific presence in areas such as oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory diseases, with a focus on organ protection. AstraZeneca has developed a broad range of technologies, initially focused on small molecules and biologics and with a growing focus in precision medicine, genomics, oligonucleotides and epigenetics. 
More recently, AstraZeneca has increased its efforts in immunology research and the development of medicines for immune-mediated diseases.
Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca is a global biopharmaceutical company operates in over 100 countries.
“This transaction marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Alexion. We bring to AstraZeneca a strong portfolio, innovative rare disease pipeline, a talented global workforce and strong manufacturing capabilities in biologics. We remain committed to continuing to serve the patients who rely on our medicines and firmly believe the combined organisation will be well positioned to accelerate innovation and deliver enhanced value for our shareholders, patients and the rare disease communities,” he added.
The combined companies will bring together two rapidly converging, patient-centric models of care delivery with combined strengths in immunology, biologics, genomics and oligonucleotides to drive future medicine innovation. AstraZeneca intends to establish Boston, Massachusetts, US as its headquarters for rare diseases, capitalising on talent in the greater Boston area.
AstraZeneca's acquisition of Alexion, with its strong commercial portfolio and robust pipeline, will support its long-term ambition to develop novel medicines in areas of immunology with high unmet medical needs. Alexion achieved impressive revenue growth over the last few years, with revenues of $5.0 bn in 2019 (21 per cent year-on-year growth). 
The two companies have been on converging paths, AstraZeneca expanding its presence from primary to speciality care, whereas Alexion has been progressing from ultra-orphan to orphan and speciality conditions.
The acquisition strengthens AstraZeneca's industry-leading growth, underpinned by its broad portfolio of medicines, which will enable the new company to bring innovative medicines to a broad range of healthcare practitioners in primary, speciality and highly specialised care.
The combined company is expected to improve profitability and deliver double-digit average annual revenue growth through 2025.
The acquisition also strengthens AstraZeneca's cash-flow generation, providing additional flexibility to reinvest in R&D and rapid debt reduction, with an ambition to increase the dividend.
Immediately earnings-accretive and value-enhancing acquisition, in line with stated capital-allocation priorities
The acquisition is expected to deliver robust and sustainable accretion to AstraZeneca's core earnings per share (EPS) from the outset, with double-digit percentage accretion anticipated in the first three years following the completion of the acquisition.
The acquisition of Alexion is consistent with AstraZeneca's capital-allocation priorities. The combined company is expected to maintain a strong, investment-grade credit rating, and the acquisition supports AstraZeneca's progressive dividend policy. The combination represents a significant step in AstraZeneca's strategic and financial-growth plans.