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Bristol-Myers beefs up cancer portfolio with $ 74 b Celgene buy

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is pictured at building in Le Passage, near Agen, France - Reuters

REUTERS: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said yesterday it would buy Celgene Corp for about $ 74 billion, creating a pharma company with several blockbuster cancer drugs and making it one of the biggest mergers on record in the 


Bristol-Myers pioneered cancer immunotherapy with its Yervoy and later Opdivo, but has come under pressure as Merck & Co’s rival treatment Keytruda moved ahead in market share in lung cancer treatment, the most lucrative oncology market. 

The deal will create a company with nine treatments bringing in more than $ 1 billion in annual sales and a significant potential for growth in oncology, immunology and inflammation and cardiovascular disease. 

Celgene shareholders will receive one Bristol-Myers Squibb share and $ 50 in cash for each share held, or $ 102.43 per share, a premium of 53.7% to Celgene’s Wednesday close. 

Bristol-Myers shares fell 13% at $ 45.20, while Celgene shares rose 30.5% at $ 87 in premarket trading. 

Celgene shareholders will also receive one tradable contingent value right for each share held which will entitle them to receive a one-time potential payment of $ 9 in cash upon regulatory approval of ozanimod and liso-cel by 31 December 2020 and bb2121 by 31 March 2021. 

Talks opened in September, with Bristol-Myers approaching Celgene, according to a source familiar with the 


Last year, Celgene bought experimental cancer drug developer Juno Therapeutics for $ 9 billion, betting on its chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, known as 


Bristol-Myers said it expects to speed up a share repurchase program of up to about $ 5 billion, subject to the closing of the transaction, market conditions and board approval. 

The companies expect to close the deal in the third quarter of 2019. The cash portion will be funded through a combination of cash on hand and debt financing. 

Bristol-Myers Squibb has obtained fully committed debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc and MUFG Bank Ltd. 

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is the lead financial adviser to Bristol-Myers, and Evercore and Dyal Co. LLC are its financial advisers. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is its legal counsel. 

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as lead financial adviser and Citi is the financial adviser to Celgene. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is its legal counsel.

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