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Half a year after announcing the acquisition of Ivax Corporation, Teva yesterday completed the $7.4 billion deal, the biggest merger in Israel's history.

Teva had held the record for the largest previous merger when it bought Sicor in early 2004 for $3.4 billion.

Teva's stocks gained 3.5 percent on the opening of Nasdaq yesterday after closing 0.8 percent up in Tel Aviv earlier in the day (despite a downward-looking market, rocked by the Palestinian election results).

The combined company will operate under the Teva name, and will have a presence in over 60 countries, employing about 26,000 people, Teva said. It will return Teva to the number one spot worldwide in generic drug sales. The two companies generated over $7 billion in revenues for the 12 months ending September 30, 2005.

"This is a truly exciting day for us," said Teva President and CEO Israel Makov. "The combination of Teva and Ivax creates a unique company that will be the clear global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and a major player in the global healthcare industry.

"We are strengthening both our generic and branded businesses, deepening our pipeline, extending our geographic reach, and expanding our presence in new therapeutic areas and growth markets," he said. "Teva will be able to respond to an exceptionally wide range of patients', customers' and healthcare providers' needs, both therapeutically and economically."

Former chairman and CEO of Ivax Corporation, Dr. Phillip Frost, has been named vice chairman of Teva. "It's now several months since we announced the agreement for Ivax to be acquired by Teva," Frost said. "During this time, we have gotten to know many of the top executives, managers and other members of the Teva family. One can only be impressed by their high level of competence and dedication," he said in the joint statement.

"I feel more certain than ever that Ivax has found the right 'home,' and will be ably managed by this exceptional group - to the benefit of employees, customers and shareholders alike." Omer Sharvit adds: Teva is preparing to raise a massive $2.75 billion through offerings of straight and convertible bonds to help finance its acquisition of Ivax.

In the biggest merger in Israeli corporate history, Teva has agreed to pay $7.4 billion, of which roughly half will be in cash. Teva intends to issue $1.5 billion worth of straight bonds in two series, one expiring in 2016 and one in 2036. The remainder, $1.25 billion, will be in convertible bonds maturing in 2026.

Most Ivax shareholders opted for Teva shares in lieu of cash for their Ivax shares. Under the agreement, only half of Ivax's shares may be converted into Teva stock, and the rest will be exchanged for cash.