Sanofi-Aventis Buys Chattem, Countering Patent Cliff Losses

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Sanofi-Aventis (SAN.FR), one of the world’s largest prescription drug companies by sales, bought Tenn.-based Chattem (CHTT), which makes products like Gold Bond, Selsun Blue and Icy Hot, for about $1.9 billion in cash (this is $93.50/share). The Wall Street Journal has more:

Seeking to offset the impending loss of sales of drugs with expiring patents, Sanofi-Aventis has been increasing its presence in the over-the-counter market this year. In October, it bought French nutritional beauty supplement brand Oenobiol and it expects the entire unit to achieve sales of about EUR1.4 billion this year.

The Chattanooga, TENN.-based company…posted revenues of $454.9 million in 2008. Sanofi said the deal will propel it to become the world’s fifth-biggest over-the-counter drugs company, from number six. It estimates the world market to be worth about $20 billion a year and excutives said they expect the company to outpace the market’s expected annual 3% growth rate.

The French company said most of the benefits from the deal would come from expanding Chattem’s products outside the U.S. Sanofi will also hand its Allegra antihistamine prescription drug to Chattem to be converted into an over-the-counter product.

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