Deal value:
$66 billion
Deal status: Open

Pharma's most heated M&A battle of the year came to a close in November, when Actavis ($ACT) swooped in to nab Allergan ($AGN) from hostile suitor Valeant ($VRX). With the $66 billion buyout, the Botox maker avoided being swallowed by a deal machine it feared would slash R&D under a business model it publicly attacked as "unsustainable."

Instead, it's now part of what Actavis CEO Brent Saunders has coined a "growth pharma"--think Big Pharma-type sales numbers without the slow expansion. In fact, the Dublin drugmaker--which will pass industry giants like Eli Lilly ($LLY) in this year's revenue rankings--envisions compound annual growth of 10% for its branded drug business, Saunders has said.

Brent Saunders

To hit that goal, Actavis will strive to embody 5 key characteristics it's identified to define "growth pharma," including highly efficient SG&A spending, sustainable commercial franchises with extended IP protection, and a strong global commercial footprint. And if it wants to outdo its larger industry peers in terms of revenue expansion, it'll be all about the execution.

Meanwhile, Saunders says the integration of the two companies is "going along the best of any I've been involved in," which is saying something considering his recent stints in the CEO chairs at Bausch + Lomb and Forest Labs. Many of Allergan's execs are staying on to help run the combined company, and rumor has it Saunders is trying to keep Allergan CEO David Pyott among them.

For more:
Big Pharma vs. 'growth pharma'? Let Actavis chief detail the differences
Actavis officially steals Allergan from Valeant with $66B buyout
Actavis ready to leap into Big Pharma with $64B bid for Allergan
Actavis ready to thwart Valeant with $60B-plus Allergan buyout: Bloomberg

--Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)