Exclusive: J&J discussing breaking up Actelion in an acquisition - sources

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The company's logo is seen at the headquarters of Swiss biotech company Actelion in Allschwil, Switzerland December 6, 2016. Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Johnson & Johnson is negotiating a deal to acquire Swiss biotechnology company Actelion Ltd that would separate its commercialized portfolio from its research and development (R&D) assets, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

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This deal structure would allow J&J to acquire Actelion with a cash offer in the region of $260 per share, a little more than what it had offered when it walked away from negotiations earlier this month, while allowing Actelion shareholders to benefit further financially from Actelion's R&D pipeline, the people said.

Under the deal being discussed, Actelion's R&D pipeline would be placed in a new publicly traded company, the people said. The exact ownership of this new company, and whether Actelion Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel would head that new company, are among the details still being negotiated, the people said.

A deal could be finalized by late January, the people said, cautioning that negotiations could still end without a deal and asking not to be identified because the details are confidential.

J&J and Actelion declined to comment.

(Reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Sophie Sassard in London; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)