Actavis cutting 30% of U.S. sales organization

Actavis ($ACT) began tallying up just how many bodies it needed in its U.S. sales organization as soon as it closed Oct. 1 on its $8.5 billion merger with Warner Chilcott. The assessment is now over, and it's bad news for 30% of them.

The rapidly growing generic drugmaker said it will keep 750 of the 1,100 people in the U.S. Specialty Brands sales organization. That includes sales representatives, district managers, national account managers and associated management. It said it would provide outplacement services and assistance to the other 350 as it helps them out the door.

CEO Paul Bisaro has been on a M&A binge the last several years as he has built the company into one of the largest generic drugmakers in the world. Last year, his Watson Pharmaceuticals did a $5.5 billion merger with Actavis and then took on the name of the acquired drugmaker. After each deal, the company quickly lets people know who will go and who will stay as it cuts overlap to save costs to pay for the deals.

The latest merger creates an $11 billion company with four "core" therapeutic areas--women's health, gastroenterology, urology and dermatology--worth about $3 billion. The company said today that there had been a lot of sales overlap between the two organizations. Fred Wilkinson, president of Actavis Specialty Brands, said he was confident that even with the cuts, it will have the sales power to cover those four areas.  

The deal also moves the company further up the food chain as Bisaro looks to build a growing part of Actavis revenues from branded drugs. Warner brought about 20 products to the table, including its top seller, Asacol, an ulcerative colitis treatment that generated almost $800 million last year. Its now-off-patent osteoporosis blockbuster, Actonel, remains its second-biggest product at $519 million.

- here's the job press release