Merck Delays $11.5B Acceleron Deal, Giving DOJ & FTC More Review Time

Merck’s $11.5 billion Acceleron Pharma buyout may not happen quite as soon as the Kenilworth, NJ-based pharma company had hoped, reported Fierce Pharma.

Merck revealed that it had temporarily withdrawn its premerger notification and report form — which provides more information about large M&A deals to the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice before they occur — to allow the FTC more time for review. The company says it plans to refile today, or soon after, in the hopes that it can still seal the deal by the end of Q4.

Some Acceleron shareholders have been skeptical of the $11.5 billion deal, saying the company could fetch more. A number of investors have said that they don’t plan to tender their shares to Merck (MRK).

Related: Merck To Buy Acceleron For $11.5B

The refiling extends the merger review’s waiting period by another 15 days to Nov. 16. Merck will get a de facto antitrust go-ahead once that period expires; the FTC may also issue what’s known as a “second request” for more information related to the transaction, which could further prolong the process.

The extension comes at a sensitive time, as activist investors at Acceleron are rallying support to boycott the tie-up. Most notably, Avoro Capital, which is known for blocking Immunomedics’ $2 billion partnership with Seattle Genetics, has been a vocal critic about the Merck deal.

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