Bristol-Myers gets a $1.6 billion offer for its French consumer health unit

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb received an offer from Japanese health-care firm Taisho Pharmaceutical to buy the company's French over-the-counter drugs business UPSA for $1.6 billion.
  • The offer by Taisho, which has its presence in anti-inflammatory analgesic, cold and flu, and hair growth segments in Japan and Southeast Asia, is structured in the form of a "put option" agreement, the companies said.
A researcher in a Bristol-Myers Squibb laboratory. The drugs — ipilimumab (brand name Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) — belong to a class called checkpoint inhibitors and are made by Bristol-Myers Squibb. They are expensive, costing more than $100,000 a year. 
Emile Wamsteker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A researcher in a Bristol-Myers Squibb laboratory. The drugs — ipilimumab (brand name Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) — belong to a class called checkpoint inhibitors and are made by Bristol-Myers Squibb. They are expensive, costing more than $100,000 a year. 

Bristol-Myers Squibb received an offer from Japanese health-care firm Taisho Pharmaceutical to buy the company's French over-the-counter drugs business UPSA for $1.6 billion, the companies said on Wednesday.

Bristol-Myers said it estimates the potential deal would be approximately $0.04 dilutive to 2019 earnings.

The offer by Taisho, which has its presence in anti-inflammatory analgesic, cold and flu, and hair growth segments in Japan and Southeast Asia, is structured in the form of a "put option" agreement, the companies said.

Upon exercise of the put option, Taisho would acquire UPSA as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb's assets and liabilities relating to the UPSA product portfolio, the companies said.

UPSA's portfolio covers a wide range of therapeutic areas such as pain, cough and cold, vitamins and supplements, gastrointestinal and sleep.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Jefferies acted as exclusive financial advisors to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Kirkland & Ellis, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Baker & McKenzie acted as its legal advisers.

The offer comes at a time when drugmakers are trying to survive a contraction in the Japanese drug market due to government-led price cuts and promotion of generic drugs.

Sales of the Japanese drugmaker's over-the-counter drugs in foreign markets was worth 8.8 billion yen in April-September, down 7.9 percent on year, according to its results.

Taisho could not be immediately reached for comment.