Catherine Dargan has been advising clients on M&A transactions for more than 20 years, working on deals in a range of industries, with particular expertise in life sciences.

“There’s been a lot of disposing of non-core assets,” Dargan says. “Companies have been rationalizing their portfolios.” Dargan adds that several companies have been focusing less on initial public offerings and more on M&A.

In recent years, her work has included cross-border transactions. London biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca Plc (LON: AZN) is one client she has handled a few transactions for recently. For instance, in 2014, AstraZeneca paid $600 million for the U.S. and Canadian rights to Actavis Plc’s branded respiratory business, including Tudorza TM, Pressair TM (aclidinium bromide inhalation powder).

Dargan also represented AstraZeneca in its $325 million sale of assets and rights to Myalept to Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2015. In 2014, Dargan worked with Ben Venue Laboratories, Inc., a subsidiary of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group, in its $300 million sale of Bedford Laboratories to Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC.

In the healthcare sector, Dargan says that mainly because of rising drug costs, buyers have been having trouble getting financing, and that has been impacting sale processes and the way that targets look for buyers. “Financing of life sciences companies has been tight,” she says. “It’s harder to get acquisition financing.” Dargan mentions that competition for quality targets is so fierce, that having good relationships is more important than ever. “The marketplace for deals has gotten far more competitive.”

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