BMS to divest Celgene drug to speed delayed deal

June 24, 2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb said it is planning to sell Otezla, Celgene's treatment for certain types of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, in an effort to address Federal Trade Commission concerns about its pending merger with Celgene.

BMS said it will use the funds from Otezla to accelerate its post-closing deleveraging plans.

The drugmaker also said that it expected to close the Celgene purchase “at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020,” although as recently as April it said the transaction was on track to close in the third quarter of 2019.

BMS shareholders approved the company’s $74 billion acquisition of rival Celgene in April, despite activist campaigns to break up the deal. Back in February, activist investor Starboard Value, unhappy with BMS' deal, moved to install its own set of directors at Bristol-Myers. A handful of other shareholders also expressed displeasure, including the fifth-largest shareholder, Dodge & Cox.

Read the press release.