Sullivan & Cromwell's Pagnani on Biotech M&A

The Deal - March 10, 2009

The Deal's Healthcare Dealmaking Symposium began with a panel discussion of the sector's M&A landscape in 2009, in which SULLIVAN & CROMWELL LLP Partner Keith Pagnani noted that large deals are still happening in the sector but with some major changes. "The deals we're seeing now are more defensive than opportunistic," he said, noting that the "big pharma deals we saw back seven or eight years ago seemed more about the capitalizing on opportunities of the combining companies. The more recent deals seem to be more defensive in nature in that they are an attempt at diversification into other business lines [aside]... from core pharma." He added that the biotech sector will "see the strong preying on the weak" as debt comes due, and that "[i]n a contracting economy, it's going to be hard for companies to get growth organically, so you may see that fueling M&A as well."