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$63bn Allergan/AbbVie merger review could be delayed by coronavirus

Published on 18/03/20 at 12:18pm

The $63 billion merger of major pharma players AbbVie and Allergan could be facing hurdles on the road to regulatory sign-off as the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to put the squeeze on global operations.

The issue became known when both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) both reported that their review process has been impacted by the outbreak, and may result in them seeking extensions to give them more time to look over the proposed deal.

In a statement, the FTC sought to reassure stakeholders on its response to the outbreak: “FTC staff is fully operational but the commission will not sacrifice the scope and thoroughness of its investigations due to current limitations and timing concerns. “We are looking at each case individually and will seek to adjust timing as needed.”

The DOJ meanwhile said that potential delays could be expected due to the impaired ability of Allergan and AbbVie to produce the required documentation and provide access to its staff for review.

Traditionally, antitrust investigations of this magnitude take at least a year to reach completion, but the unprecedented coronavirus situation will likely see this period extended.

Matt Fellows

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