Deal value: $25 billion
Deal status: Closed
Before outdoing itself with its $66 billion Allergan ($AGN) buyout, Actavis ($ACT) had the biggest buy of 2014's first half with its acquisition of Forest Labs. And with two deal-minded CEOs at the helm, this one happened quickly.
When the pair first met at 2014's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, then-Actavis CEO Paul Bisaro had already merged Watson Pharmaceuticals with generics maker Actavis and then nabbed Ireland's Warner Chilcott to build up on the branded side. Brand-new Forest CEO Brent Saunders had just stepped into the skipper's chair after Valeant ($VRX) bought up Bausch + Lomb, his former home. And 5 weeks later, they had inked a deal pact.
The acquisition further beefed up Actavis' branded offerings, bringing along meds like antidepressant Viibryd and blood-pressure treatment Bystolic. Its constipation remedy, Linzess, complemented a new gastrointestinal portfolio that featured Warner colitis products Asacol and Delzicol.
But according to famed activist investor Carl Icahn, who had long been agitating for a sale of Forest, the deal was more than just a way to even out Actavis' branded and generic offerings; it was a "huge win" for shareholders and "yet another validation of the activist investment philosophy in general," he said in a statement on his website at the time.
Icahn: Activist investing works, and Forest deal shows it
Actavis inks $25B deal for Forest in bid to build its brand stable
Forest Labs taps ex-Bausch + Lomb chief to replace Solomon as CEO
--Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)