US: Bayer’s $7.6B bid to offload Elanco draws FTC attention

Bayer’s eager to send its animal health unit to Elanco so it can focus its healthcare efforts on pharmaceuticals. But that US$7.6 billion selloff, like many other recent life sciences deals, has hit an antitrust snag.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent Elanco a second request for information about the deal, the Indiana-based veterinary specialist announced on Monday, December 9.

Despite the extra scrutiny, Elanco maintained that the request “was anticipated as part of the regulatory process,” and that it still expects to wrap the deal in mid-2020 as previously announced.

“We continue to work collaboratively with the FTC and other regulators around the world and are progressing as expected,” Jeff Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco, said in a statement.

A “second request” means the FTC’s initial review has raised some potential anti-competition questions, which the agency wants to delve into more deeply. While most deals are allowed through on first look, the FTC has issued a series of second requests to life sciences companies on recent deals.

Roche’s US$4.3 billion takeover of gene therapy biotech Spark Therapeutics still awaits an FTC decision after it unveiled a second request in early June. AbbVie and Allergan’s proposed US$63 billion merger was hit with the same demand in September. And DNA-sequencing giant Illumina’s US$1.2 billion purchase of competitor Pacific Biosciences has also been delayed by that additional antitrust scrutiny.

Full Content: Elanco, Fierce Pharma

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