UPDATED: Horizon CEO Walbert in line for major payday after Amgen sale

Horizon Therapeutics CEO Timothy Walbert has made routine appearances in rankings of the biopharma industry's best-paid executives, and he's set to collect once again with his company's sale to Amgen.

Walbert is in line for a huge payday if the deal closes as expected in the first half of 2023, according to Horizon securities filings.

Amgen in December agreed to buy Horizon for $27.8 billion, or $116.50 per share. Walbert is a major shareholder in his company, owning 693,907 shares at the time of the deal. When Amgen purchases those shares at the agreed-upon deal price, Walbert would net around $80.84 million.

On top of that figure, Walbert should be eligible for additional "change in control" payments related to the sale. In January 2023, Horizon published an SEC filing showing that Walbert's "golden parachute" payment is set to total around $55 million, including $9 million in cash and more than $46 million in equity. 

Still, the company cautioned that the $55 million number is based on "multiple assumptions that may or may not actually occur."

Walbert should be somewhat used to cashing big paychecks. Last year, he ranked sixth among the industry's best-paid CEOs, collecting $21.35 million in total compensation. In 2020, he placed eighth with $21.63 million in total compensation.

But the 2021 and 2020 numbers paled in comparison to his 2015 payday. That year, the helmsman nabbed $93.4 million in total compensation thanks to major stock option and restricted share awards.

Now, after years under Walbert's stewardship, Horizon is set to sell itself to Amgen in what will likely be 2022's largest biopharma M&A deal. Before inking the Amgen sale, Horizon engaged several other Big Pharma players in negotiations.

Walbert has led Horizon as CEO since June 2008 and has been the company's board chair since 2010.

Editor's note: This story was updated with information from a January 2023 proxy statement.