FTC blocks Abbott, Alza merger

Pharmaceutical Representative

The proposed merger between Abbott Laboratories and Alza Corp. will not be completed due to an inability to come to terms with the FTC.

The $7.3 billion proposed merger between Abbott Park, IL-based Abbott Laboratories and Palo Alto, CA-based Alza Corp. will not be completed due to an inability to come to terms with the Federal Trade Commission, according to Abbott Laboratories.

The deal, which would have been the largest in Abbott history, would have enhanced Abbott's positions in urology and neuroscience. It would have also strengthened Abbott's internal cancer research and development efforts (see Pharmaceutical Representative, August 1999).

"We are obviously disappointed that we were unable to complete this transaction," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer of Abbott. "Together with Alza, we have worked diligently over the last five months to successfully resolve the issues with the FTC, but could not reach a solution that was in the best interest of our shareholders."

Despite the inability to conclude the merger, White made it clear that the setback would not negatively impact Abbott's future. "It's important to note that our proposed acquisition of Alza was only one aspect of our overall growth strategy," said White. "The fundamentals of our business remain strong, and we've made excellent progress in building our pharmaceutical pipeline this year [by] adding 13 new products. Over the next 12 to 19 months, we plan to launch 14 new pharmaceutical products that will provide acceleration of our growth rate." PR