- AbbVie said it would buy Botox-maker Allergan for about $63 billion.
- The drugmaker is grabbing control of by far the biggest name in medical aesthetics to help reduce its reliance on blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira.
- AbbVie has been under pressure to diversify its portfolio as Humira, the world's best-selling drug, faces competition from cheaper versions in Europe.
Drugmaker AbbVie said on Tuesday it would buy Botox-maker Allergan for about $63 billion, grabbing control of by far the biggest name in medical aesthetics to help reduce its reliance on blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira.
The two companies have been in talks for the last six to seven weeks, sources told CNBC's David Faber. The talks were initiated by AbbVie Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez, sources said.
AbbVie has been under pressure to diversify its portfolio as Humira, the world's best-selling drug, is already in competition with cheaper versions in Europe and faces expiration of its patents in 2023 in the United States, its most important market.
Humira, which brought in revenue of about $20 billion last year, reported the first fall in quarterly sales in years in the January-March period.
AbbVie's Gonzalez, 65, will helm the combined company and remain chairman and chief executive through 2023, the companies said. The deal will effectively re-domicile Allergan as a U.S. company.
Allergan Chief Executive Officer Brent Saunders, who put together the current version of his company through a series of deals to roll up several pharmaceutical firms in 2014, will join AbbVie's board upon completion of the deal.
Saunders built his reputation as a dealmaker, but Allergan has struggled since Pfizer walked away from a $160 billion deal in 2016. Allergan's shares have lost around half their value since then.
He has been under pressure over the last year to break up or sell the company, with activist investor David Tepper running a campaign to urge Allergan to hire an independent chairman.
Shares of AbbVie have also languished, losing more than a third of their value from highs hit in January 2018 over concerns about competition to Humira.
Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares and $120.30 in cash for each share held, for a total consideration of $188.24 per Allergan share, a premium of 45% to the stock's Monday close. Including debt, the deal values Allergan at $83 billion.
AbbVie shares were down 8% at $72.20, while Allergan shares were up 31.6% at $170.46 in early trading.
AbbVie's offer price is a far cry from Pfizer's all-stock offer for Allergan that valued the Ireland-based drugmaker at $363.63 per share in 2015.
Maxim Jacobs, director of research for North America at Edison Investment Research, said the deal provides AbbVie with a set of assets to help diversify away from Humira at a very reasonable price.
"In return, Allergan shareholders get a decent premium to what has been an outrageously low stock price," Jacobs said.
The deal, , which is worth about $83 billion including debt, is expected to add 10% to adjusted earnings per share over the first full year following the close, the companies said.
The deal was a better-than-expected outcome for Allergan as investors and analysts were expecting a split, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Louise Chen wrote in a note, adding that it is unlikely that anyone else will step in and bid for Allergan at this point.
The Wall Street Journal first reported news of the deal earlier Tuesday.
—CNBC.com contributed to this report.