Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SLXP) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Valeant will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Salix for $158.00 per share in cash, or a total enterprise value of approximately $14.5 billion. The transaction was approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.
Salix Pharmaceuticals is a widely recognized gastrointestinal market leader with a portfolio of 22 total products, including well-known prescription brands Xifaxan, Uceris, Relistor, and Apriso, as well as a strong near- term pipeline of innovative, new assets.
“Salix’s market-leading gastrointestinal franchise is an ideal strategic fit for Valeant’s diversified portfolio of specialty products,” said J. Michael Pearson, Valeant’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The growing GI market has attractive fundamentals, and Salix has a portfolio of terrific products that are outpacing the market in terms of volume growth and a promising near-term pipeline of innovative products. With strong brand recognition among specialist GI prescribers, a highly rated specialty sales force, and a significant product and commercial presence across the undertreated and underserved gastrointestinal market, this acquisition offers a compelling opportunity for Valeant to create a strong platform for growth and business development.”
Thomas W. D’Alonzo, Chairman of the Board and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Salix, stated, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Valeant, which is a logical partner and importantly, creates immediate value for our shareholders. Combining Salix’s leading market position in gastroenterology with Valeant’s scale and resources will create a stronger and more diverse business committed to providing better health solutions to health care providers and their patients. We are proud of the accomplishments of our Salix team. Together, we have built our company into the leading gastrointestinal specialty pharmaceutical company, providing solutions for patients and healthcare providers. We look forward to working with the Valeant team to ensure a smooth transition.”
The combination is expected to yield greater than $500 million in annual cost savings from the cost base of the combined company. Synergies are expected to be achieved within six months of close, primarily from reductions in corporate overhead and R&D rationalization, with the cost to achieve these synergies to be approximately 65%. Valeant and Salix will determine how best to integrate the two companies to leverage the combined strengths of both while ensuring a smooth and orderly transition. Consistent with Valeant’s approach to integrating Bausch + Lomb, there are no planned reductions to Salix’s highly rated specialty sales forces or hospital, key account and field reimbursement teams and we will determine the optimal size of Primary Care Sales Force through the integration process.
On November 6, 2014, Salix reported five to nine month wholesaler inventory levels for its top four products. Valeant has conducted extensive due diligence on Salix’s stand-alone wholesaler inventory levels, stand-alone inventory work down plan, and associated potential litigation and regulatory exposure. Valeant expects to work down wholesale inventory and plans to target two months or less of wholesale inventory by year-end 2015. The net impact of the excess inventory on 2015 revenues is expected to be greater than $500 million.
The acquisition is structured as an all-cash tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Salix common stock at a price of $158.00 per share followed by a merger in which each remaining untendered share of Salix common stock would be converted into the right to receive the same $158.00 cash per share consideration as in the tender offer.
The all-cash offer will be financed through a combination of bank debt and bonds. As a result of the need to draw down inventories, EBITDA will be artificially low in 2014 and 2015, resulting in the initial net leverage ratio of approximately 5.6. Valeant is committed to reducing its net leverage ratio to be below 4.0 by the second half of 2016. As a result of the plan to reduce wholesaler inventory levels in 2015, the transaction is expected to be modestly accretive to 2015 cash EPS, but over 20% accretive to 2016 cash EPS.
Valeant does not expect any change to its credit ratings as a result of the transaction.
The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval
Shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals closed last Friday at $157.85 . SLXP has a 1-year high of $172.98 and a 1-year low of $86. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $132.59 and it’s 200-day moving average is $132.61.
On the ratings front, Salix has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on February 13, Mizuho analyst Mario Corso reiterated a Hold rating on SLXP with a price target of $149, which implies a downside of 5.6% from current levels. Separately, on the same day, Sterne’s Shibani Malhotra downgraded the stock to Hold and has a price target of $145.
Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd is a specialty pharmaceutical company, which is dedicated to acquiring, developing and commercializing prescription drugs used in the treatment of a variety of gastrointestinal diseases.