Elan Would Consider Selling, but Who'd Buy It?

Biotech expert Adam Feuerstein explains a sale isn't likely here, regardless of what the company's management says.
Publish date:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Elan (ELN) said in a breakout session Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that it is considering all options: strategic partners, selling off certain assets, a merger and an outright sale.

The latter option seems a very remote possibility, mainly because Elan has well over $1 billion in debt coming due in 2011. That's not a nut potential suitors are going to want to take on right now. Take note, too, that if Elan is sold,

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

, the company's Tysabri marketing partner, gets negotiating rights to wrest away full control of the drug.

Elan shares have been strong this year, in part because of semi-persistent rumors that


(PFE) - Get Report

was interested in

buying the company

. After the last two days of meeting here, Elan management appears to have pretty much put that rumor to bed.

I'm having breakfast with Elan management tomorrow, including CEO Kelly Martin, whom I named

Worst Biotech CEO of 2008

. Perhaps I should bring my own oatmeal?

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

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