Maybe the M&A boom was the shares they bought along the way
When Congress passed legislation that substantially reduced the tax bills of multinational corporations, biotech investors rejoiced. This, at last, would set in motion a wave of acquisitions that would reshape the industry and fill their coffers in the process.
Instead, the industry spent the savings on itself. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 10 biggest drug companies bought back about $52.4 billion of their own shares in the first nine months of 2018, which is more than double what they spent last year. Meanwhile, the busy year of buyouts many expected has instead proved tepid.
But is buying into biotech really a better use of money? As omniscient Twitter user @AndyBiotech points out, the recent past is littered with examples of pharma paying top dollar for seemingly promising upstarts only to find itself holding onto so many useless drugs and balance sheet write-offs.