ImClone Systems (IMCL) has rejected an unsolicited $60 per share bid
from U.S. Erbitux marketing partner Bristol-Myers (BMY) made at the end of July and announced today that it has received an offer from an unidentified big pharma company for $70 per share in cash. ImClone has received the formal offer and will allow two weeks for the bidding company to conduct due diligence. ImClone Chairman and prominent activist investor Carl Icahn has been in talks with the CEO of the pharmaceutical company which made the new offer, representing a premium of over 10% from the closing price on Tuesday of $63.65 per share.
While numerous big pharma companies could be potential bidders for ImClone, Pfizer (PFE) would be my best guess as the mystery buyer as such a deal would make more sense than the Bayer buyout rumor
from yesterday given the larger size and need to break-up the German chemical group and drug maker versus a pure-play domestic biotech acquisition. Erbitux would add to Pfizer's cancer drug Sutent and others which recorded group sales of $2.6 billion last year. Such a deal would also bolster the pipeline of Pfizer in the area of oncology. Germany-based Merck KGaA (MKGAY) is another potential buyer of ImClone as the Company's European partner for Erbitux. During early trading today, shares of ImClone are trading near the new offer at $68.50 per share, which values the company at about $6 billion.