Merck to acquire ArQule for $2.7B

Merck, the pharmaceutical giant based in Kenilworth, announced Monday one of its subsidiaries will buy ArQule Inc., a Burlington, Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company.

“ArQule’s focus on precision medicine has yielded multiple clinical-stage oral kinase inhibitors that have novel and important properties,” Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories, said. “This acquisition strengthens Merck’s pipeline with the addition of these strategic assets including, most notably, ARQ 531, a compelling candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.”

The takeover is valued at $2.7 billion, or $20 per share.

Under terms of the deal, Merck through a subsidiary will initiate a tender offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of ArQule. Once the tender offer is complete, Merck’s subsidiary will merge into ArQule, and any remaining ArQule common stock shares will be canceled and converted into the right to receive the same $20 per share price payable in the tender offer.

“We are proud that Merck has recognized the contributions that ArQule, together with its scientific collaborators, has made to the field of precision medicine in oncology with ARQ 531 for the treatment of B-cell malignancies and with the rest of our clinical-stage pipeline,” said Paolo Pucci, CEO, ArQule. “With this agreement, ArQule’s pipeline will benefit from Merck’s vast capabilities and determined engagement to benefit the patients who we have always strived to serve.”

The deal is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2020.

BofA Securities acted as the financial adviser and Covington & Burling LLP as legal adviser to Merck. Centerview Partners acted as the financial adviser and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as the legal adviser to ArQule.