Pfizer to buy Allergan in $160 billion deal

Pfizer Buys Allergan

(Reuters) -- Pfizer Inc on Monday said it would buy Botox maker Allergan Plc in a record-breaking deal worth $160 billion to cut its U.S. tax bill by moving its headquarters to Ireland.

The acquisition will create the world's largest drugmaker, with combined annual revenue of about $64 billion. It is also the biggest-ever tax inversion deal, an increasingly popular and controversial maneuver aimed at helping U.S. companies lower their taxes by reincorporating overseas.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called inversions unpatriotic and has tried to crack down on the practice. To avoid potential restrictions, the transaction was technically structured as smaller Dublin-based Allergan buying Pfizer, although the combined company will be known as Pfizer Plc and continue to be led by Chief Executive Officer Ian Read.

The merger will delay by two years the Lipitor and Viagra maker's decision on whether to split itself into two. That decision, which could sell off Pfizer's lower margin unit of products facing generic competition, was expected by late 2016.

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