AstraZeneca to buy Alexion for $39 billion to expand in immunology

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AstraZeneca, one of the frontrunners in the drugs industry’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine, said on Saturday that Alexion shareholders would receive $60 in cash and 2.1243 AstraZeneca American Depositary Shares (ADSs) for each Alexion share.

Based on a reference average ADR price of $54.14, that implies a total price of $175 per share.

Alexion shares closed at around $121 apiece on Friday.

“This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

“Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases.”

The British company said the boards of both companies had approved the deal which, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Alexion shares have struggled in the last few years as investors have wondered whether the company had a follow-up therapy to its best selling franchise that treats rare diseases.

The company has been rumored as a takeover target amid this stock slide. Activist investor Elliott Management Corporation, which had a stake in the company, pushed it to sell itself last December, a move the company rejected at the time.

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