FTC Approves Amgen’s $27.8 Billion Horizon Acquisition: Implications for Pharma Mergers


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has allowed Amgen to proceed with its $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics under a settlement agreement, which could have implications for other pending pharmaceutical industry buyouts. This decision suggests that other large deals currently under review, such as Pfizer’s proposed $43 billion purchase of Seagen, may also proceed relatively unscathed. The settlement is seen as a positive development for the M&A space in the pharmaceutical sector.

However, some analysts and experts believe that the FTC’s willingness to challenge large pharmaceutical buyouts may continue. While the settlement agreement’s restrictions on Amgen may not significantly impact the company, they could set a precedent for future deals. The FTC has become more active in reviewing acquisitions, especially in light of increased M&A activity in the pharmaceutical industry.

The settlement agreement prohibits Amgen from bundling its products with Horizon’s drugs, among other restrictions. While Amgen has indicated it does not intend to bundle products, these restrictions could potentially apply to future transactions. The FTC’s approach to finding narrow reasons to challenge deals, even those that do not appear to create anti-competitive situations, may lead pharmaceutical companies to be more cautious about pursuing M&A.

FTC Chair Lina Khan has signaled that the agency will continue to scrutinize antitrust issues in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly practices that could raise drug prices, limit access, hinder innovation, or harm patients. As a result, pharmaceutical companies may be more inclined to consider smaller deals to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

In summary, while the settlement agreement allows Amgen to proceed with its acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics, it also highlights the FTC’s increased focus on antitrust issues in the pharmaceutical industry, potentially impacting future M&A activity in the sector.