Mergers & Antitrust Law News

Roche’s 138% Premium for Spark Shows M&A Arms Race for New Drugs

Feb. 25, 2019, 3:17 PM

Shareholders in Spark Therapeutics Inc. woke up Monday, Feb. 25, to news of a windfall: Roche Holding AG agreed to buy the Philadelphia-based gene therapy company at a price that’s more than double where the shares closed on Friday, Feb. 22.

Such massive premiums are growing more common in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries this year as drugmakers, eager to snap up lucrative medicines, pay prices that will deter potential counterbidders.

Acquirers of drug and biotech companies over the past five years paid an average premium of 56.5 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This year, though, the...

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