(Bloomberg) — Novo Nordisk A/S agreed to buy three factories for $11 billion to help meet rising demand for obesity drug Wegovy and diabetes shot Ozempic.
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Novo will pay its main shareholder, Novo Holdings A/S, in cash for the fill locations. Novo Holdings agreed Monday to buy the asset owner, Catalent Inc., in a deal with an enterprise value of $16.5 billion. The transactions are the largest ever for both Danish companies.
Catalent shares rose about 13% in premarket trading. Novo’s shares, which have soared along with demand for its drugs, rose as much as 3.4% on the news, marking a record. The drugmaker is Europe’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of more than $520 billion.
Novo Nordisk is under pressure to increase its supply of Wegovy as it faces competition from Eli Lilly & Co.’s recently approved Zepbound shot, which is expected to become the best-selling drug in history. In patient studies, Lilly’s drug led to more weight loss than anything Novo has released to date.
Read more: Eli Lilly’s $600 billion weight loss empire was late, but happy
The acquisition of factories in Italy, Belgium and Indiana is not an immediate solution to Novo’s production problems. It will gradually increase production capacity from 2026, according to a spokeswoman. The production has been a thorn in the side of the Danish drugmaker, even as it benefits from the new class of anti-obesity drugs it helped pioneer.
There are “clear business reasons for Novo Nordisk to acquire these three factories to accelerate the supply of key products – not least Wegovy,” said Brian Borsting, a credit analyst.