Talk about peer pressure. First, a couple of U.S. drugmakers pull off trans-Atlantic deals that shift their official HQs and lower their tax rates. Next, some bigger names go for the same tax-inversion strategy. Now, investors want to know why every drugmaker isn't jumping in.
There are winners and losers in mergers, and as a general rule, executives win and at least some workers lose. That certainly is the case with Actavis and Forest Laboratories. While nearly 200 Forest employees in the St. Louis, MO, area got pink slips this week, top execs will receive up to $186 million in "merger success awards" for closing the $25 billion deal.
After serving as Bausch & Lomb's chief exec for just 5 months, incoming Actavis CEO Brent Saunders wants to keep his new job for awhile. So forget selling the company, fast-growing and attractive as it may be, Saunders is more interested in buying.
Actavis has seen significant production increases at a manufacturing facility in Malta in recent years and so needed more storage space to handle it. This week it opened a new 4,800-square-meter warehouse in Bulebel, that uses new technology to tread lightly on the environment.
Weak Qsymia sales have been the all-important issue for Vivus since the highly anticipated obesity therapy stumbled out of the gate, inspiring an all-out proxy war that wreaked havoc on the company's boardroom. And the California company isn't about to cede what market share it does have to Actavis--at least, not without a fight.
In the wake of a lawsuit brought by two California counties against five manufacturers of prescription painkillers, the city of Chicago has filed a suit of its own. Chicago is suing the same five pharma companies--alleging, much like California does, that they overstated the benefits of opioid painkillers while deceiving the public about the risks.
Back in February, notorious rebel investor Carl Icahn promoted a Forest deal to sell itself to Actavis as a momentous victory for shareholders. But while investors may have agreed with the principle of a transaction, it turns out not all of them were so happy with the way Forest made the sale--and to whom.
Puerto Rico's drug production sector has had an eventful few years, with investments by Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb and others being offset by cutbacks at Merck and Pfizer. Now the island can add another line to its list of positive events: Actavis is investing $48 million to revitalize assets it acquired in the takeover of Warner Chilcott.
California has decided to lay the responsibility for opioid overdoses, and even a resurgence in heroin use, at the feet of the drugmakers, accusing them in a lawsuit of reaping huge profits while turning a large swath of people into drug addicts.
Eli Lilly lost a patent fight with Actavis in English High Court, in a ruling that paves the way for copycat competition not only in that country, but several others in Europe.