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Local News Summary of December, 31st

  • Several billion-dollar deals in Basel region this year
  • Taizé: Plan ahead if you want to get home early!
  • Drunk driver without a license crashes and injures himself 

Several billion-dollar deals in Basel region this year

The year 2017 will be remembered for the billion-dollar business deals that were struck in the Basel region – among them Actelion, Syngenta, and Clariant. At the same time, Roche, Novartis, and the Swiss Exhibition (Messe Schweiz) also went shopping abroad.

At the beginning of the year, all business eyes were set on the researcher couple Martine and Jean-Paul Clozel. People were keen to find out whether the two Actelion founders would agree to a takeover or not. Johnson & Johnson offered 30 billion dollars for the pharmaceutical company based in Allschwil, Baselland. The Clozels, who still kept five per cent of their company’s shares, eventually agreed to the mega-deal when Johnson & Johnson promised to help them create a new research company. Thanks to the deal agreement, the purely research-based company Idorsia was founded in Allschwil, which the focus on molecular research and nerve diseases.

Syngenta sold to Chinese state for 43 billion dollars

June 2017 marked the biggest deal of the year: Syngenta was sold to the Chinese state-owned company, Chemchina. It marked the creation of the world’s largest group for seeds and pesticides. Yet, despite experiencing one of the biggest deals since the fusion of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, opinions remained rather quiet in the Basel region. Obviously, Baslers were not afraid of the economic power of China.

In other news, the speciality chemical group, Clariant, wanted to merge with the American Huntsman group. The fusion was planned to be set in stone with a share exchange which would have made both companies nearly equal partners. However, the “White Tale” investment hedge fund intervened. It stated that the fusion would not yield enough revenue and therefore spoiled the deal for the time being – even though it was not clear whether the funds would get the majority of the shares. Clariant CEO Hariolf Cottmann claimed that the London-based speculators were planning to break apart Clariant and then sell the individual parts separately.

Roche and Novartis also made investments

The Basel pharma giants Novartis and Roche remained quiet about new acquisitions until the end of the year. In October, Novartis expanded its cancer branch with the takeover of “Advanced Accelerator Applications” for 3,9 billion dollars. Roche did not follow up on this expansion of cancer research until December 2017 by acquiring the company Ignyta for 1,7 billion dollars.

“Messe Schweiz” also went on a shopping tour this year. The Swiss Exhibition company secured the biggest acquisition in its 100-year-history with the takeover of the American event marketer and exhibition organiser, “MC squared”. Neither the Swiss nor the American deal-makers have said anything about the acquisition price.

In England, Swiss Exhibition bought “Masterpiece London” – an exhibition for antique and contemporary art. The Swiss Exhibition thereby planned to expand its market position and international exposure in England. And finally, Swiss Exhibition also became involved with the Art Düsseldorf and therefore further extended its art exhibition portfolio.

In Switzerland, things did not go so well this year with the (smaller and shorter) Basel World watch and jewellery exhibition. CEO René Kamm explained that “Messe Schweiz” had been pursuing an expansive strategy abroad already since 2005 and that it would focus more strongly on live-marketing in the future. These developments and the mega-deals of 2017demonstrate that the Basel region is becoming more and more involved with foreign countries and groups.

Taizé: Plan ahead if you want to get home early!

Since 28 December, around 20,000 young people from all over the world have been exploring Basel under the Taizé banner.This is nothing to worry about as they are harmless and friendly people – the only factor which should be taken into account is that there are many more people using the public transport network.

Participants of this year’s Taizé are easily recognisable: they are usually in a good mood; they often carry a backpack and a Taizé city map in hand. When they are not attending worship services and workshops, the young people have enough free time to explore our city. However, if local people intend on using public transport on their way home, they can expect the journey to last longer than usual – most trams and buses are filled to the brim.

In addition, there are also New Year’s Eve festivities coming up, so half of Basel is still out and about for last-minute shopping or just for a stroll. On Friday, the Basel Transport Service reported traffic jams in Weil am Rhein.

Drunk driver without a license crashes and injures himself

A driver was injured when he crashed his car into a traffic island on the Hauptstrasse in Ziefen on Friday night.

According to current investigations by the Baselland police, the 52-year-old man was driving from Bubendorf towards Ziefen at around 8.30pm when the accident happened. For reasons that remain unclear, the car hit a traffic island near the entrance to the village before skidding across the street sideways and coming to a halt in a field. The man suffered minor injuries in the crash and had to be taken to a hospital by paramedics.

An alcohol test revealed that the man had an alcohol level of 0,93 mg/l. The 52-year-old also did not possess a valid driver’s license because it had been taken off him in the past. The driver is now facing public prosecution charges.