Biogen Idec is showing a gain of about 20% in pre-market trading on news that the biotech company's board is considering putting the firm up for sale. The board has authorized BIIB management to evaluate the possibility of a third-party buyout. BIIB has evidently received offers from some interested parties, including one from billionaire investor Carl Icahn. The Wall Street Journal reported that Icahn offered $23 billion for the firm some time last week.
Conjecture on other potential buyers is circulating, with some analysts putting Eli Lilly (LLY) and Wyeth (WYE) into the mix. Other options include Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) or a Japan-based pharmaceutical firm. CIBC World Markets noted this morning that a partnership with Pfizer (PFE) would likely be frowned upon by the Federal Trade Commission, due to certain medications including BIIB's multiple-sclerosis drug Avonex.
In focus is Biogen's newest MS drug, Tysabri, from which the firm expects monster growth. Biogen believes the number of Tysabri users can grow from 17,000 at the present time to 100,000 by the end of 2010. Any potential buyers likely have confidence in the success of this medication.
This morning, TheStreet.com opined that BIIB could fetch up to $23.5 billion just above Icahn's reported offer - based on its Friday after-hours price. This price tag would have the prospective buyer shelling out 7.6 times expected 2007 revenue, or 6.5 times projected 2008 revenue.
One thing is probable BIIB is poised to jump higher at the open today. A move past the 80 level, which the pre-market action is indicating, would lift the shares beyond their November 2000 peak to a new all-time high.