Solvay goes to Abbott for $7.6B

Whatever last-minute flurry of Solvay Pharmaceuticals (SVYSY) bidding there was--or wasn't--it's over now. The winner? Abbott Laboratories, which has agreed to buy the drugs unit of the Belgian company Solvay. Price: about $7.6 billion, or €5.2 billion.

Talking heads are hailing the Abbott buy for a variety of reasons. It will beef up Abbott's (ABT) emerging-markets sales, for one. It gives Abbott full control of the TriCor cholesterol pill it's been co-marketing with Solvay Pharma, plus solo rights to the Trilipix follow-up med. Plus, Abbott gets access to a variety of other desirable products, including drugs for hypertension and Parkinson's disease, hormone treatments, and flu vaccine. And that diversification will help curb Abbott's reliance on Humira, though not enough to make some analysts happy.

The purchase price includes a €4.5 billion ($6.6 billion) up-front payment, plus an additional €300 million ($437 million) in payments contingent on product performance, payable in 2011 and 2013. The deal also includes assumptions of liabilities valued at €400 million ($583 million). Solvay had been looking for up to €5 billion for the pharma unit, so Abbott beat its asking price.

The Abbott buyout leaves a couple of other Solvay-chasers in the dust, particularly Nycomed, which until recently was said to be the sole company to lodge an actual bid. Belgium's UCB also was looking at the company, news reports say, along with Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

- read the release from Solvay
- see the Wall Street Journal coverage
- check out the news from Bloomberg
- read the New York Times article
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