US Watson buying Swiss generic drugmaker Actavis for $5.6 bln

April 26, 2012, Thursday/ 12:10:00

Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. is buying another generic drugmaker, Switzerland's Actavis Group, for about $5.6 billion in a move that will make Watson in the world's third-biggest generic drugmaker.

Watson, which has seen its profits surge since it started selling an authorized generic version of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor in December, is now No. 4 globally. It had expected around $5.4 billion in revenue this year. Privately held Actavis operates in more than 40 countries and sells more than 1,000 products. The companies said its revenue totaled $2.5 billion in 2011. Watson said the purchase should close during the fourth quarter of 2012, pending approval from regulators. If Actavis meets performance goals in 2012, its shareholders could get up to 5.5 million shares of Watson.

Watson CEO Paul Bisaro said in a statement that the deal will boost its position in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, and complement its products in the US After the deal is complete, more than 40 percent of Watson's generic drug revenue will come from outside the US, and Watson said it believes it will be able to reduce its annual costs by $300 million the three years after the deal closes.

Watson reported $4.58 billion in revenue in 2011, up 29 percent from the previous year. It also expanded its business by buying generics maker Specifar Pharmaceuticals of Greece in May. That deal was valued at $563.1 million.

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