AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot (File photo, AP)

In an end-of-year sur­prise, As­traZeneca nabs rare dis­ease stal­wart Alex­ion in $39B buy­out. But why?

Af­ter spend­ing the past 8 years script­ing a turn­around that would make As­traZeneca $AZN a re­li­able growth sto­ry and glob­al per­former in on­col­o­gy, CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot has bought out Alex­ion $ALXN, a mid-sized biotech that helped make rare dis­eases trendy.

In­vestors at Alex­ion are get­ting $175 a share — $60 in cash and the rest in com­pa­ny stock — mak­ing this a $39 bil­lion buy­out. That qual­i­fies as the biggest M&A deal of 2020 in bio­phar­ma, a year in which easy bolt-ons have dom­i­nat­ed.

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