US quartet snatches jobs on $2.6bn pharmaceuticals purchase

US firms Latham & Watkins, Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom, Sullivan & Cromwell and Weil Gotshal & Manges have all won roles advising on Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ $2.6bn (£1.6bn) acquisition of dermatology drugmaker Medicis Pharmaceutical.

The terms of the deal see Valeant, the Canadian publicly-traded drugmaker, pay $44 (£28) per share in cash for US-based Medicis. Known for aesthetic injectables including its wrinkle-smoothing agent Restylane, Medicis is expected to boost Valeant’s sales from skin treatments by about 75 per cent to $1.7 billion (£1.1bn).

Sullivan and Skadden, both of which advised on Valeant’s aborted $5.7bn bid for US drugmaker Cephalon last year, represented Valeant on the deal. Skadden attorneys include New York M&A partner Stephen Arcano and banking partner Robert Copen, while LA-based M&A partner Alison Ressler led the Sullivan team.

Medicis was advised by Weil and Latham, with lead partners at Latham including California-based M&A partner Charles Ruck, New York-based corporate partner Wesley Holmes and Silicon Valley-based corporate partner Joshua Dubofsky.

The Weil team included corporate partners Michael Aiello and Matthew Gilroy, antitrust partner Ann Malester, tax partner Ken Heitner, IP partner Jeffery Osterman, benefits partner Steve Margolis and litigation partner Greg Danilow.

Valeant is reported to have made around 50 acquisitions of companies and assets since Michael Pearson took over as chairman and CEO in 2008.

Background to this deal

The latest transaction follows Valeant’s failed bid for US drugmaker Cephalon last year, in which the Canadian drugmaker turned to Sullivan for advice. Sullivan’s lead partners on the deal were M&A duo Keith Pagnani and Alison Ressler, the lead lawyer on Valeant’s latest buy. Although Skadden was acting for Cephalon on the aborted $5.7bn bid, the firm has represented Valeant in the past, advising on the sale of its western and eastern European operation to Meda in 2008.

Weil advised Medicis after it was sued by Prasco for declaratory judgment in 2008. Latham advised the drugmaker on a bond offering earlier this year.

The deal comes months after America’s second-largest health insurance company WellPoint turn to Linklaters’ New York office for advice on its acquisition of rival Amerigroup for $4.9bn (10 July 2012).