Updated from 4:58 p.m. EDTBiogen Idec ( BIIB) is in play. Ending months of speculation, the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech firm confirmed late Friday that it has received "expressions of interest" from third parties interested in acquiring the company. One of those interested parties is famed investor Carl Icahn, according to a statement released by the company. The statement didn't make clear if Icahn had presented a specific buyout offer to Biogen Idec's board, or if Icahn was pressing the company to put itself up for sale. Icahn owns 2.74 million shares, or about 1%, of Biogen Idec. In late August, the Federal Trade Commission approved Icahn's request to purchase more of the company. How much more he purchased, if any, has not been disclosed. Shares of Biogen Idec shot up nearly 17% in recent after-hours trading to $81.10. Biogen Idec's statement is somewhat cryptic in that it doesn't detail any specific acquisition offer. Instead, the company said its board of directors "authorized management to evaluate whether third parties would have an interest in acquiring the company at a price and on terms that would represent a better value for its stockholders than having the company continue to execute its strategy on a stand-alone basis." Biogen Idec spokeswoman Amy Reilly explains that the board is asking management "to explore strategic alternatives" for the company. She declined to offer any more specifics, including the role that Icahn is playing.