October 10, 2019 / 5:29 AM / 5 days ago

Belgium's UCB to buy Ra Pharmaceuticals in $2.1 billion cash deal

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Belgian drug, chemical, and plastics group UCB is seen at the entrance of the company's headquarters in Brussels March 2, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

(Reuters) - UCB has agreed to acquire U.S.-based Ra Pharmaceuticals for $2.1 billion, both companies reported on Thursday, in a deal that will enable the Belgian drugmaker to offer new treatment opportunities for several rare diseases in neurology and immunology.

“Ra Pharma is an excellent strategic fit addressing multiple areas of UCB’s patient value growth strategy,” UCB’s Chief Executive Officer Jean-Christophe Tellier said in a joint statement.

Tellier added that the acquisition would generate six potential product launches in the next five years, strengthening the company’s neurology and immunology franchises with late and early-stage pipeline projects.

The acquisition of the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, which was founded in 2008, is expected to contribute to UCB’s core earning per share and increase its revenue and net profit from 2024 onwards.

It would not impact UCB’s financial guidance for 2019 but due to related R&D investments, UCB moved the mid-term target of reaching a recurring core profit (rEBITDA) ratio to revenue of 31% to 2022 from 2021, it said.

Shareholders of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company will receive $48.00 in cash for each share they hold in Ra Pharma, what represents about 93% premium based on average closing stock price of Ra Pharma prior to signing, the statement said.

The purchase is to be funded by a combination of existing cash resources and new bank term loans, arranged and underwritten by BNP Paribas Fortis and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the companies said.

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both UCB and Ra Pharma, is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter of next year.

Reporting by Pawel Goraj; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Tomasz Janowski

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