Invariably, by now word has spread that Actavis has acquired Botox-manufacturer Allergan for a whopping $66 b, making it one of the biggest M&A deals in any sector this year, outpacing Medtronic's acquisition of Covidien by a not insignificant $19 b. The deal comes in the wake of an attempted hostile takeover by acquisition-happy Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
Allergan, to its credit, has a history of being a pretty innovative company. CEO David Pyott has long been committed to R&D and is heralded as being the first to recognize the potential of botulinum toxin (aka BOTOX) for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. I know I can't be the only one who was wishing they'd come up with the idea to turn a neurotoxin into a multi-billion dollar product, can I, It's understandable, then that Allergan was actively doing everything in its power to avoid being acquired by Valeant, known for its preponderance to slash R&D budgets of newly acquired companies.
However, earlier this year, in an effort to stave off the hostile takeover, Allergan committed to cutting its global workforce by 13%, something to the tune of 1,500 jobs, in an effort to appease shareholders in the face of Valeant's promise to increase profits by cutting costs. While the threat of a hostile takeover is now a distant memory, cuts continue to be made. Actavis is set to axe 200 positions at its California plant, effective January 2nd. Happy New Years, indeed. While it remains to be seen how the promised synergies will be realized in the coming months and years, it seems clear that, at this juncture, Actavis strategy isn't all that different from Valeant's.