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AstraZeneca's Acquisition of Alexion Is Nearly a Done Deal, But Is It a Good Deal?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - Jul 17, 2021 at 7:01AM

Key Points

  • AstraZeneca recently received clearance from European Union regulators to acquire Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
  • The deal now only requires an OK from U.K. authorities to close.
  • While Alexion isn't necessarily an exciting acquisition for AstraZeneca, it should provide additional growth for the big drugmaker.

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Probably so.

AstraZeneca (AZN 3.08%) hopes to soon close its planned acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN). The only hurdle left to jump is obtaining approval from United Kingdom regulators. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on July 7, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss whether or not the Alexion acquisition is a good deal for AstraZeneca.

Keith Speights: AstraZeneca has experienced multiple problems with the launch of its COVID-19 vaccine and we're not going to get into all of those problems but there's more news non-COVID related for AstraZeneca now.

The company's planned acquisition of Alexion seems to be moving along with no issues. The European Commission recently cleared this deal. All AstraZeneca awaits now is a green light in the United Kingdom. It looks like AstraZeneca's acquisition of Alexion is nearly a done deal, but Brian, do you think this is a good deal for the company?

Brian Orelli: I mean, it's not the most exciting acquisition, but it's a good deal nonetheless. On the surface, it looked kind of expensive, they paid a 45% premium at the time for the $39 billion deal, but AstraZeneca said it will be immediately accretive to earnings.

I think that part of that is because they're using some cash, and obviously cash doesn't have a very good return on because interest rates are so low and then they paid some with shares and AstraZeneca shares are actually trading at a higher PE than Alexion's.

I think they're paying with more expensive shares and I think that probably helps the deal valuation. They are also looking for $500 in synergies per year that will max out by the end of the third year.

Alexion has drugs for orphan indications. It has Soliris which has been a blockbuster due to its high price, which is a rare blood disorder because of our PNH, they have a next-generation drug for PNH called Ultomiris, more than half of the patients have switched from Soliris to Ultomiris. That's good because the patents on Soliris are going to run out and then they have some other drugs that will incrementally help AstraZeneca as well.

Brian Orelli, PhD has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

AstraZeneca PLC Stock Quote
AstraZeneca PLC
$66.64 (3.08%) $1.99
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Stock Quote
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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