Advisers could land $100 million payday from Actelion sale

By By Clara Denina Markets Reuters

Advisers could pocket up to $100 million in fees from Johnson & Johnson's $30 billion acquisition of Swiss biotech firm Actelion , the largest takeover of a European healthcare business in more than a decade.

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Four investment banks will share the advisory pot; J&J could cough up $30-$40 million in fees to its advisers, Lazard and Citi, while Actelion is expected to pay $45-$60 million to Bank of America and Credit Suisse, according to estimates from Thomson Reuters/Freeman Consulting.

Lazard, which acted as lead adviser to J&J, is set to earn the most, followed by Bank of America, which acted as Actelion's lead adviser.

The deal is the biggest takeover with a European pharma business as target since Sanofi-Synthelabo acquired rival Aventis 13 years ago to forge what is now Sanofi .

It ranks as the third biggest globally in any sector this year, after British American Tobacco's $49.4 billion acquisition of U.S. rival Reynolds American Inc and a $49 billion all-share merger between Italy's Luxottica and France's Essilor to create a global eyewear powerhouse.

The sale of Actelion, announced on Thursday after weeks of exclusive negotiations, is yet another windfall for M&A bankers, showing that Europe remains an attractive region for corporate deals despite uncertainty over Brexit and upcoming elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

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Global M&A activity fell 16 percent in 2016, while acquisitions of European companies dropped 13 percent to $756 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. Advisory fees attached to global M&A deals fell 2 percent to $27 billion.

(Editing by Pravin Char)