|By Staff and Wire Reports|
|Sunday, 08 January 2012 04:35|
The transaction, with an aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.5 billion, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The board of directors of Inhibitex has agreed to recommend that Inhibitex’s shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer. In addition, shareholders with beneficial ownership of approximately 17% of Inhibitex’s common stock have entered into agreements with Bristol-Myers Squibb to support the transaction and to tender their shares in the tender offer.
At $26 per share, the deal is a huge 163 percent premium to Inhibitex's closing price of $9.87 on Friday.
Recent years have seen significant advances for treating hepatitis C - a serious liver disease that afflicts an estimated 180 million people worldwide - while setting off a scramble among large drugmakers to secure the most promising products.
The Bristol-Inhibitex deal comes on the heels of Gilead Sciences Inc's $11 billion acquisition in November of Pharmasset Inc, which has its own promsing hepatitis C therapies. That deal was at an 89 percent premium.
San Diego-based Anadys Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANDS) was only valued at about $60 million before being acquired for $230 million in October. It has agreed to be acquired by pharmaceutical giant Roche for $3.70 a share, a 256 percent premium over its closing price of $1.04 at the close of trading the day before the announcement.
“The acquisition of Inhibitex builds on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s long history of discovering, developing and delivering innovative new medicines in virology and enriches our portfolio of investigational medicines for hepatitis C,” said Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “There is significant unmet medical need in hepatitis C. This acquisition represents an important investment in the long-term growth of the company.”
“This transaction puts INX-189 and the Company’s other infectious disease assets in the hands of an organization that can more optimally develop them and which believes as strongly as we do in INX-189’s potential in the treatment of chronic HCV,” said Russell Plumb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Inhibitex. “Bristol-Myers Squibb’s expertise in antiviral drug development, and its existing complementary portfolio, will assure that the potential of INX-189 is realized as part of future oral combination therapies for millions of patients in need around the world.”
Shares of Inhibitex, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, more than tripled in value last year, boosting the company’s market capitalization to $772.8 million as of Jan. 6. Back in early October, when shares were trading just under $3 we told our premium scubscribers that prices were starting to climbing quietly. The stock had battled back from an insider sale scare, and despite the fact that nearly 3 million shares were short, pressure to cover was mounting as bulls continued to push the stock price higher.