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Eisai Agrees to Buy MGI Pharma for $3.9 Billion (Update6)
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Eisai Co., the Tokyo-based maker of the world's best-selling Alzheimer's medicine, agreed to acquire U.S. drugmaker MGI Pharma Inc. for $3.9 billion in cash to gain more cancer drugs.
MGI investors will get $41 a share, or 23 percent more than the MGI's Dec. 7 closing price, Eisai said today in a statement. Eisai will use $3.6 billion in bridge loans and $300 million in cash to finance the purchase, which may be completed by the end of March, the company said.
Eisai's Alzheimer's drug Aricept, which faces generic competition in 2010, accounted for 38 percent of third-quarter revenue. The MGI acquisition is the third in a year by Eisai Chief Executive Officer Haruo Naito involving cancer treatments, as he moves to enter a global oncology market that generated $34.6 billion in 2006, according to Norwalk, Connecticut-based research firm IMS Health.
``Large drugmakers need to expand the product selections in their pipelines as they face patent expiry,'' said Shinsuke Nagasaki, at Mizuho Asset Management Co., in a telephone interview. ``There is a higher possibility that we'll see more mergers.''
MGI, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, sells Aloxi shots for chemotherapy-induced nausea; the Gliadel Wafer, a biodegradable wafer with a chemotherapy agent; and Hexalen, for treatment of refractory ovarian cancer. Sales of Aloxi, MGI's biggest drug, fell 5.8 percent in the third quarter to $66.3 million.
``A steady flow so far in 2007'' of biotech acquisitions will continue in 2008, mostly among smaller to mid-cap companies, said Michael G. King, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, in an interview today. ``In terms of acquisitions these aren't blockbusters in the hundreds of billions of dollars, but companies that have products and own a significant interest in those products.''
The announcement was made after the close of trading in Tokyo. Eisai rose 100 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 4,840 yen today, after it had fallen to a two-month low in October because of delays
in potential successors to Aricept. MGI's stock jumped $6.55, or 20 percent, to $40.00 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The company has gained 117 percent this year.
Eisai said it will give details on the acquisition's effect on earnings at a later date. Eisai is paying about 9.7 times MGI's revenue. AstraZeneca Plc paid about 10.8 times MedImmune Inc.'s sales when it bought the U.S. biotechnology company for $15.2 billion in April.
MGI said on Nov. 29 that it hired Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to explore a possible sale of the company. At least two analysts cut their ratings on MGI Pharma last month on concerns about revenue growth.
``Eisai will be able to overcome the sales decline when the Aricept patent expires in 2010 with this acquisition,'' Naito told reporters and analysts in a briefing in Tokyo today. ``This acquisition will also help us achieve our sales target of 1 trillion yen by 2012.''
The Japanese company is targeting U.S. sales of 440 billion yen in the year ending March 2012. Sales of MGI products such as Aloxi and Dacogen are expected to grow more than 35 percent on average in the next five years, Eisai said. The company doesn't plan on increasing its U.S. workforce.
``MGI has a lot of very good early-stage compounds,'' said Eisai's U.S. president, Lonnel Coats. He cited the compound amolimogene, for precancerous cervical dysplasia, the abnormal growth of cells on the cervix. ``These offerings, especially with something like the Giladel Wafer, which is very novel, will compliment Eisai.''
Eisai bought U.S. biotechnology company Morphotek Inc. for $325 million to gain potential new treatments for cancer in April this year. It also bought exclusive rights to four cancer- related treatments from Ligand Pharmaceutical Inc. for $205 million to help establish the company's global oncology business in October last year.
Today's transaction will ``allow Eisai to significantly strengthen its oncology business and increase the likelihood of achieving our current strategic plan targets and our future revenue and earnings growth,'' Naito said in a statement.
MGI Pharma will eventually be absorbed by Eisai's North America unit, the statement said. Eisai was advised by JP Morgan Chase.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mari Murayama in Tokyo at email@example.com
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