World’s Best Bank for Advisory 2020: Morgan Stanley
In big, complex M&A deals, the firm’s main challenge is which side to work for.
The pandemic may have put new M&A discussions on hold for now, but many strategic transactions already underway continued towards the finish line in the first half of 2020. Morgan Stanley was to the fore in the biggest, most complex, cross-border ones.
In May, AbbVie completed the acquisition of Allergan for $63 billion in cash and stock, after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved both sides’ agreement to dispose of certain Allergan assets. The three-two vote in favour came after a nine-month investigation that led some investors to doubt it would go ahead.
“It looks like a large standard pharma merger between two US-listed companies, but Allergan is domiciled in Ireland and subject to the Irish takeover code. So, as well as seeking FTC approval, we had to conduct all the valuation and structural negotiations according to Irish law,” says Colm Donlon, head of M&A for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Morgan Stanley, lead financial adviser to AbbVie.
Morgan Stanley had long been close to AbbVie, having advised on the company’s separation from Abbott Laboratories in 2013.