BMS wins approval to buy Celgene

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Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene have won US antitrust approval for their merger on condition that they sell Celgene’s psoriasis drug Otezla, the US Federal Trade Commission says. Bristol-Myers Squibb says that the decision means it has had all the needed regulatory approvals and the acquisition will close on 20 November.

Amgen is buying Celgene’s Otezla business in a sale valued at US$13.4bn.

Combining two of the world’s largest cancer drug businesses in the biggest pharmaceutical deal ever, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced in January that it would buy Celgene in a cash-and-stock deal for around US$74bn.

The FTC says that the proposed divestiture is the largest that the FTC or the US Department of Justice have required in a merger enforcement matter.

FTC chairman Joseph Simons says: “The Commission has ordered BMS to divest Otezla to preserve BMS’s incentive to continue developing its own oral product for treating moderate-to-severe psoriasis.”

The five members of the FTC split along party lines on whether to approve the proposed merger, with the three Republicans in favour and two Democrats opposed.

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