All clear for Actavis to become Allergan as EU watchdogs approve $66B merger

Actavis ($ACT) and Allergan ($AGN) can finally celebrate: They've cleared the last hurdle to closing their $66 billion merger agreement.

The European Commission has signed off on the tie-up, the companies said Monday. And with that, they expect the acquisition to wrap up Tuesday, they said in a statement.

While the drugmakers haven't until now had all of their official OK's to tie the knot, the integration process has been underway for awhile. Actavis quickly started rebranding the company as a "growth pharma"--to set it apart from the slow-growth Big Pharma companies it will join in the industry's global top 10 when the deal closes.

That integration also includes redrawing its company structure and management chain, which now features a "balance" of Allergan and Actavis vets in the combined company's lead roles, CEO Brent Saunders says. And speaking of the post-merger company--it'll be called Allergan when all is said and done, a hat tip to that pharma's history as a branded drugmaker as Actavis pivots away from its generics roots.

But the $1.8 billion in cost savings Actavis promised when it stole Allergan away from hostile pursuer Valeant ($VRX)--the majority of which are due in the first year after closing--suggests more changes are on the way. That figure includes about $450 million in financial synergies, and excludes manufacturing overlaps. And it's on top of the $475 million in cuts that Allergan announced last July as it tried to escape Valeant's clutches.

- read the release

Special Report: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 - Actavis/Allergan | The top 10 pharma companies by 2013 revenue

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