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AbbVie's Pending Acquisition of Allergan Earns FTC Approval

By Prosper Junior Bakiny – Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 4:41PM

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With this final regulatory sign-off, the deal between these two pharmaceutical giants should close very soon.

In June 2019, AbbVie (ABBV -2.12%) announced it would acquire Allergan (AGN) in a cash and stock transaction valued at $63 billion. And Tuesday, almost a year after the news first broke, the pharma giant finally cleared the last of the regulatory hurdles involved when it received the green light from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), meaning AbbVie may now move forward with the acquisition.

This deal did encounter several impediments. Most notably, a coalition of consumer groups and unions expressed antitrust concerns and argued that AbbVie's acquisition of Allergan would reduce competition in ways that would harm consumers. The coalition asked the FTC to investigate -- and potentially block -- the deal.

AbbVie and Allergan agreed to divest several assets to address these antitrust concerns. Allergan sold Brazikumab -- an investigational treatment for Crohn's disease and other autoimmune disorders -- to AstraZeneca. Allergan also divested Zenpep, a product that treats the lack of enzymes caused by certain conditions such as cystic fibrosis, to Nestle. The closing of the acquisition is imminent now that AbbVie and Allergan have received the FTC's blessing. 

Doctor giving a thumbs up

Image Source: Getty Images.

AbbVie has a lot riding on this acquisition. It's biggest cash cow -- Humira, an immunosuppressant that treats several conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis -- has been losing steam in Europe due to competition from biosimilars. During the first quarter, Humira's international revenue was $1.047 billion, a 14.9% decrease compared to the prior-year quarter.

The pharma giant does have other products whose sales are growing fast. For instance, its cancer treatment Imbruvica recorded a revenue of $1.2 billion during the first quarter, a 37.9% increase compared to the year-ago period. Also, revenue from Venclexta, another cancer medicine, increased by 109.9% year over year to $317 million. But its purchase of Allergan should go a long way toward helping the company further decrease its reliance on Humira.

Prosper Junior Bakiny has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nestle. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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