NovoCatalentBy Alex Philippidis -February 5, 2024 - Novo Holdings, the asset manager of the foundation that controls Novo Nordisk, has agreed to acquire contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Catalent for $16.5 billion—with the buyer standing to recoup two-thirds of that expense by selling three of Catalent’s fill-finish sites to Novo Nordisk for $11 billion upfront so it can meet booming demand for its blockbuster obesity drugs Wegovy® and diabetes drug Ozempic®, the companies said today.

The three sites—consisting of facilities in Bloomington, IN; Brussels, Belgium; and Anagni, Italy—employ more than 3,000 people combined, about one sixth of Catalent’s total global workforce of more than 18,000 people, including 3,000 scientists and technicians.

The three are part of Catalent’s network of more than 50 sites worldwide, and have what Novo Nordisk characterized as ongoing collaborations with the company. “After closing, Novo Nordisk will honor all customer obligations at the three Catalent sites that Novo Nordisk is acquiring,” Novo Nordisk said.

Catalent agreed to the sale following a review of its business, strategy and operations, and capital-allocation priorities by a committee of its board. The board agreed to the review after Catalent added four new independent directors supported by activist investor Elliott Investment Management, in order to avoid a proxy battle and reverse a stock price plunge that saw Catalent shares skidding 48% from $92.28 on August 30, 2022, to $47.81 on August 29, 2023, the day Catalent and Elliott came to terms. Part of that decline came after Catalent rattled investors and analysts in May 2023 by disclosing that it expected to significantly reduce its fiscal 2023 net revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) guidance, each by more than $400 million.

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