FTC Backs AbbVie on Allergan Acquisition -- WSJ
By John D. McKinnon
This article is being republished as part of our daily
reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S.
print edition of The Wall Street Journal (May 6, 2020).
WASHINGTON -- AbbVie Inc. agreed to divest itself of several
pharmaceutical assets to settle the Federal Trade Commission's
antitrust objections to its proposed $63 billion acquisition of
Botox maker Allergan PLC.
The FTC voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to approve the
The companies said in a statement that the settlement with the
FTC "satisfies all required antitrust clearances needed to be
obtained" for the acquisition.
The AbbVie-Allergan deal was announced in mid-2019. It was
viewed as giving AbbVie a dominant position in the lucrative market
for Botox and other beauty drugs as it prepared for the end of
patent protection for its blockbuster Humira immunosuppressive
The two companies' portfolios were thought to have some
potential for overlap in treatments for the brain, women's health
and other areas. In the end, the FTC focused on a narrower range of
concerns over competition.
The drugs that would be sold under the proposed settlement with
the FTC include a set of treatments for a pancreatic disorder and a
class of drugs used for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The two companies said in a statement that they have amended
their agreement to provide that only one Allergan director will
join AbbVie's board following the closing of the deal.
Allergan Chairman and Chief Executive Brent Saunders has elected
not to join AbbVie's board "to provide more flexibility to pursue
other opportunities in the sector," the companies said.
Democratic members of the FTC said the antitrust agency's remedy
was insufficient and raised concerns about the takeover's potential
impact on innovation.
Republicans said the FTC must have proof that a merger is likely
to lessen competition substantially before the agency can challenge
it. "We cannot meet this burden of proof just by surmising there
might be harm," they wrote.
Write to John D. McKinnon at email@example.com
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May 06, 2020 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)
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