Ropes wins big on pharma deals along with Kirkland, Slaughters and Skadden

Ropes & Gray has won mandates on two multi-billion dollar pharma deals, as Shire makes a $34bn (£21.8bn) offer for Baxalta while the EU approves Pfizer’s $17bn (£10.9bn) acquisition of Hospira.

The firm recently represented Dublin-based Shire in its proposal to merge with Baxalta, with a team led by US corporate partner Christoper Comeau. He was assisted by securities and public companies partner Paul Kinsella and tax partners David Saltzman and Christopher Leich. 

While Ropes is handling the US aspects of the transaction, Slaughter and May is also advising the company led by partners Martin Hattrell and Adam Eastell. The pair are receiving support from tax partner Tony Beare and competition partner Claire Jeffs. 

Baxalta has so far rejected the proposal saying it “undervalues” the company and would be “disruptive” at such an early stage of Baxalta’s existence as a public company. Kirkland & Ellis partners Scott Falk and Daniel Wolf are representing the company, following its separation from Baxter International in July. 

The news came soon after the European Commission approved Pfizer’s $17bn acquisition of Hospira, with Pfizer receiving advice from Ropes & Gray. Again partner Paul Kinsella represented the company alongside partner Marko Zatylny. 

Hospira was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, after receiving the initial offer back in February. Partners Charles Mulaney and Richard Witzel worked with the company, along with competition partners Clifford Aronson and Frederic Depoortere, and partner Joseph Yaffe handling executive compensation and benefits. 

Pfizer’s acquisition of Hospira is intended to enhance its injectable drug offering, while Shire’s combination with Baxalta would fuel further growth in the rare diseases market. 

Background to the deal 

It has been a busy year for Ropes’ pharma team, as the team also represented Par Pharmaceuticals in its sale to Endo International. Slaughter and May’s Martin Hartrell and Adam Eastell have also been busy advising longtime client Shire, working with the company just over a year ago, when AbbVie proposed a £30.1bn takeover of the company. 

AbbVie’s announcement closely followed Pfizer’s proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca, with the former turning instead to Skadden in this instance.