Friday 19 January 2018

Lawsuit lifts Mulligan's Jazz stake to €150m

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

A positive result in a US lawsuit saw shares in Jazz Pharmaceuticals soar, valuing former Elan executive Seamus Mulligan's stake at over €150m.

A US judge sided with Jazz in a major patent row with rival drug firm Roxane Laboratories over its best selling treatment of narcolepsy, Xyrem. The judge's decision on the interpretation of disputed terms over eight patents is seen as a key development in how the lawsuit plays out in coming weeks. Jazz share prices soared to the highest levels since it floated in 2007.

Mulligan is one of its largest individual shareholders. Jazz was transformed by a mega merger with his Azur Pharma last year. Latest filings show that the Athlone-based tycoon owned over 2.44 million shares in Jazz. The Barrymore Trust, an entity associated with Mulligan, also owns 864,954 shares. Based on Friday's closing prices, those combined shareholdings are worth almost €151m. Last March, Mulligan sold 2 million shares, netting around €76m. He is now one of the country's richest -- but least well-known businessmen.

The success of Jazz marks an incredible journey for Mulligan, who had seen his Azur Pharma struggle during the "credit crunch".

Wexford-born Mulligan was credited with helping to turn around Elan, which was close to collapse under a mountain of debt 10 years ago. He was instrumental in a vast deleveraging process that saw over $2bn shaved off its bank loans through asset disposals.

He left Elan in 2004. Mulligan set up Azur the following year, buying one of Elan's drugs, Prialt, which would become a big earner.

Last week saw drastically different fortunes for Jazz's neighbour at its Burlington Road, Dublin headquarters -- Treasury Holdings is to be wound up.

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