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Lawyers winners in Pfizer divestment

Lawyers winners in Pfizer divestment

Commentators say it's the lawyers who are doing well out of the newly announced divestment of Pfizer by Virbac.

Commentators sayit’s the lawyers who are doing well out of the newly announced divestment ofPfizer by Virbac.

Virbac has justemerged as the successful tenderer, and now just the ACCC’s approval is theonly thing standing in the way of the divestment.

The assets acquiredby Virbac consist of the Fort Dodge Australia livestock business, including arange of livestock vaccines and the Cydectin range of sheep and cattleparasiticides, along with a biologicals manufacturing facility.

But as noted inBusiness Spectator, the portfolio will complement the current range oflivestock products that Virbac Australia already sells, handing Virbac thechance to become a major player in the market.

Pfizer divested theassets in compliance with requirements imposed by the ACCC in connection withits US$68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, including the Fort Dodge business, inOctober 2009.

This most recenttransaction represents the final divestiture of assets required by the ACCC.

The otherdivestment required by the ACCC was the sale to Boehringer Ingelheim of theFort Dodge companion animal vaccines business, consisting of a portfolio of catand dog vaccines, in October 2009.

Butout of all of this, some commentators are questioning the cost versus benefitof a very expensive involvement of the ACCC and lawyers in the deal.

BusinessSpectator’s David Leyonhjelm reported that the ACCC has cost Pfizer a fortuneby forcing it to divest some valuable assets. On top of this, the divestmentprocess was costly to the bidders, while Australian taxpayers paid for the“over-populated, under-qualified ACCC team”.

Andherein lies the question around value. Lawyers have done well out of it all.But value for livestock farmers and the Australian public is questionable and,at least, yet to be seen.

Allens ArthurRobinson advised Pfizer on both divestments, as well as Australian counsel onits acquisition of Wyeth.

The Allens teamincluded lawyers from its M&A, pharma, intellectual property, employmenp,tax, property and environment practices, led by partner Jeremy Low and IPPartner Andrew Wiseman. 

“These transactionswere milestones for Pfizer in meeting its regulatory obligations and inensuring a smooth transition to its new integrated businesses in Australia,”said Low.

As well as Low andWiseman, the Allens team included partners Peter Arthur, Ross Stitt, AdrianChek, Victoria Holthouse and Jim Parker, as well as senior associates EveRegnard, Nick Fletcher, Rebecca Sadleir, Marina Lloyd Jones, Heran Kim andAndrew Selim, and lawyers Anja Yencken, Julian Anderson and James Gibson.




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