AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company currently working in collaboration with Osford University on a COVID-19 vaccine, announced on Saturday that it would acquire US drugmaker Alexion for $39 billion.

As part of the deal, the FTSE 100 firm said that Alexion shareholders will receive $60 in cash and about $114 worth of equity per share, a premium of more than $50 per share. Alexion shareholders will own around 15% of the merged company.

The boards of both firms unanimously approved AstraZeneca’s takeover, which is expected to close in Q3 2021. The deal was the result of exclusive talks with no competitor involved, and will broaden AstraZeneca’s portfolio with access to Alexion’s rare-disease and immunology drugs.

"Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot said in a statement. “This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology.”

Ludwig Hantson, CEO of Alexion, also hailed the deal: "We bring to AstraZeneca a strong portfolio, innovative rare disease pipeline, a talented global workforce and strong manufacturing capabilities in biologics.”

Shares in AstraZeneca fell 9% on Monday as investors moved to price in the deal, which is now awaiting regulatory approval before it can go ahead. Shares in the company have fallen by around 17% from their peak in July, as Pfizer and Moderna have made swifter progress in developing and receiving approval for their COVID-19 vaccines.


AstraZeneca also revealed on Monday that it will take out a £13 billion ($17 billion) bridging loan to finance its takeover bid.