OK, maybe not in the literal sense, but if you are an aspiring attorney interested in getting a piece of the pharma pie you can start salivating now. On Tuesday drug companies announced deals potentially worth a total of $74 billion, and the top law firms are all over that. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian company, announced a $46 billion hostile bid for Botox-maker Allergan. The deal is backed by Valeant shareholder Pershing Square Capital Management, a private equity firm. The American Lawyer reports that Valeant’s A-team is led by Sullivan & Cromwell, Skadden and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, three firms that have previously worked on major deals for the company. Pershing Square’s legal team includes prominent lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis, which has represented the company on other major deals, and Canadian firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg. On the offer side, Allergan has lined up its go-to firm Latham & Watkins. The legal teams at these firms comprise lawyers in the corporate, antitrust, tax, compensation and benefits, finance and IP departments – demonstrating just how wide the breadth of a pharmaceutical deal can be.
Meanwhile, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells are advising Novartis on a series of transactions, also announced Tuesday, that will majorly restructure the company. Novartis plans to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology division, and GSK will buy Novartis’ vaccine portfolio. It will also sell its animal health business to Eli Lilly in an all-cash deal. These exchanges involve multiple millions of dollars and are likely to keep attorneys busy well into 2015. GSK is relying on Cleary Gottlieb and Slaughter & May for this high-end legal work, and Eli Lilly’s counsel is Weil Gotshal.
This won’t be the end of major pharma deals. There has been an uptick in M&A deals this year; in fact, the volume is more than double what it was for the same period in 2013, according to the NYT blog Dealbook. Of the $1.1 trillion in merger activity, 9% can be attributed to pharma companies. As drug companies invest more money in acquisition efforts (some companies are shifting efforts away from new research and instead pursuing expansion), law firms are certain to benefit. And associates can expect to bill, baby bill!
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