U.S. antitrust agencies’ actions in the healthcare sector is raising eyebrows, and contributing to a slowdown in deals, according to several antitrust experts, in part due to the uncertainty that’s been created.
Buyers have grown more cautious and everyone is more cognizant of compliance, says Anjana Patel, an antitrust expert at law firm Epstein Becker & Green. Deals are going through, though they may take longer. …
In May of this year, the FTC struck again, seeking a court injunction to keep Amgen‘s $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics from closing, on the grounds that it would entrench Horizon’s monopoly on eye and gout treatments.
Patel says the current antitrust environment is forcing buyers and sellers to do more planning.
“Healthcare M&A was out of control,” she says of the period before the current slowdown. “There was a frenzy of acquiring companies.” …
The FTC and the Justice Department have launched a joint inquiry regarding guidelines on how government enforcers interpret antitrust law. While this revision of guidelines, last reviewed in 2010, seems to be aimed primarily at tech mergers, it has unsettled the M&A market in general.
“All of a sudden, guidance is being looked at,” Patel says.