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TheStreet) -- The torrid pace of hepatitis C deal-making continues with
Bristol-Myers Squibb(BMY - Get Report) announcing Saturday that it will acquire
Inhibitex(INHX) for $2.5 billion.
Bristol's all-cash tender offer values Inhibitex at $26 per share, or more than two-and-a-half times the company's closing stock price on Friday of $9.87. For all that cash, Bristol gains control of Inhibitex's INX-189, a pill in phase II studies which has the potential to become a component in the first all-oral therapies against hepatitis C.
For the same reason,
Gilead Sciences(GILD - Get Report) announced in November plans to acquire
Pharmasset(VRUS) for $11 billion. That deal is expected to close next week.
Pharmasset and Inhibitex were the two top-performing stocks in the biopharmaceutical sector in 2011. Hepatitis C stocks have become red hot on takeover speculation, and investors will surely now focus next on
Idenix Pharmaceuticals(IDIX) and
Achillion Pharmaceuticals(ACHN), both still independent for now.
-- Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.