EU regulator approves Eli Lilly's acquisition of J&J's animal health unit

The European regulator yesterday approved the proposed acquisition of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, the animal health unit of Johnson & Johnson by the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of psychiatric drugs, Eli Lilly & Co.

"The Commission's investigation showed that whilst the combined market shares of the merged entity would be relatively high in certain areas, customers would continue to benefit from a sufficient choice of suppliers," the Brussels-based European Commission said in a statement.

"The transaction only marginally increases Eli Lilly's market shares through the addition of Janssen Animal Health's products to its portfolio," it added.

The proposed acquisition of Janssen was made by Eli Lilly in March 2011 through its animal health division Elanco. (See: Eli Lilly to acquire Johnson & Johnson's animal health unit)

Elanco, the world's fourth-biggest animal health business with sales of $1.4 billion last year, employs more than 2,300 people worldwide, and has offices in more than 40 countries.

The acquisition would give Elanco a portfolio of about 50 marketed animal health products.

Under the terms of the deal, which did not disclose the financial terms, Elanco would acquire products, manufacturing licenses, distribution rights and the existing contract portfolio, as well as the related intellectual property and marketing authorisations.

Headquartered in Beerse, Belgium, Janssen's animal health business is primarily European-focused, targeting disease segments in companion animals and livestock, with special emphasis on swine and poultry.