Camerons and Freshfields lead on £8bn pharma deal

CMS Cameron McKenna and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer secured prize mandates on the €9.6bn (£8.4bn) sale of Swiss drug company Nycomed to the Japanese Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

Julian Long
Julian Long

The deal will see Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company pay cash to the private equity consortium that controls Nycomed, led by Nordic Capital and Credit Suisse, with the price including €3.6bn in net debt. It is one of the most valuable European private equity transactions in recent years.

Teams from across the CMS network, led by UK life sciences corporate partner Sandra Rafferty, acted for longstanding client Takeda on the deal. The Camerons team included relationship partner Nick Beckett, deputy life sciences head Sarah Hanson and international head of life sciences corporate M&A David Butts.

Freshfields acted for Nycomed, as well as the Nordic Capital and Credit Suisse-led consortium. The magic circle firm’s team was led by corporate partner and healthcare co-head Julian Long. Private equity partner David Sonter, corporate partner Jennifer Bethlehem, competition partner Andrea Gomes da Silva and dispute resolution partner Geoff Nicholas also featured.

Camerons’ Beckett said: “We’ve been working closely with Takeda since 1997 and this transaction showed CMS at its best – true co-operation over our network of offices across Europe ensuring a successful result for our client. We simply have the right team and unparalleled sector expertise in place to have been able to support them with a “one-stop shop” for this significant European acquisition.”

Freshfields’ Long added: “This transaction represents the largest European private equity deal since KKR’s acquisition of Alliance Boots in 2007 and the largest cross-border acquisition by a Japanese company in recent years.

“The deal is symptomatic of three main trends we are seeing in this space – an increasing corporate appetite for expansion and growth in emerging markets, particularly Russia, Brazil and China; the growing attractiveness of European M&A for Asian and US companies and increasing M&A in the Healthcare sector, including disposals by private equity houses.”