Zoetis To Buy Abbott Animal Health Assets

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Zoetis Inc (NYSE:ZTS) announced this morning that it plans to purchase Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)’s Animal Health assets for $255 million. The deal will expand Zoetis’ animal product portfolio, adding veterinary solutions for diabetes, oncology and pain.

No other terms disclosed

In this morning’s press release, the companies said that they would not disclose any other terms of the deal. They expect the deal to close in the first quarter of next year. The transaction faces the usual legal and regulatory reviews.

“Zoetis is well suited to build on the leadership position of Abbott Animal Health in the veterinary surgical suite,” said Zoetis Group President Kristin Peck in a statement this morning. “We believe Zoetis’ scale, industry-leading field force, and global presence will rapidly expand both the reach and penetration of these leading brands.”

With the deal, Zoetis adds brands like the anesthesia drug PropoFlo and Simbadol, a pain reliever for cats that’s commonly used after surgery. The company also gets Alpha TRAK, which is a glucose monitoring system.

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Ackman’s stake in Zoetis

Last week, Bill Ackman’s firm Pershing Square Capital Management revealed a significant stake of 10% in Zoetis. The activist investor acquired that stake for $2 billion. The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources who said the stake was taken alongside an investment with Sachem Head Capital Management. Ackman’s former associate Scott Ferguson runs Sachem Head.

It was speculated last week that Ackman might push Zoetis to sell itself to a major drug maker like Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX). A Zoetis spokesperson said Ackman had called but declined to reveal further information about that call.

With the uproar that’s been going on in the pharmaceuticals industry right now, Zoetis’ purchase of Abbott’s Animal Health business seems timely, particularly in light of the phone call from Ackman. Today Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) announced a deal with Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT) (LON:ACT), which most analysts agree is a move designed to block Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX)’s hostile takeover attempt.

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