Ariad Pharma's Executive Stock Giveaway Kills Takeover Hopes

Put a fork in the Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) "to be acquired" meme. It's dead.

Ariad doled out stock options to directors and restricted stock to executives, including CEO Harvey Berger. The stock gifts were made on Jan. 31, according to SEC filings disclosed Tuesday night

Think about it. If Ariad was in takeover talks with Eli Lilly (LLY) or some other Big Pharma suitor, the company would not be handing out free stock to its executives. 

Remember, the Daily Mail story about the rumored $20-per-share takeover offer from Lilly was published on Jan. 22. No way this story is even remotely true with the company now disclosing stock option and restricted stock grants nine days later. 

According to the SEC filings, each member of Ariad's executive team was granted 88,000 shares of restricted stock, which means the cost basis is zero. CEO Berger was given 261,000 shares of restricted stock. 

Each member of Ariad's board of directors -- you know, the folks who are supposedly in the midst of acquisition talks -- voted themselves 25,000 options each. 

Ariad is on its own

I won't even begin to address the appropriateness of granting Ariad executives free stock after shareholders have suffered huge losses due to the market withdrawal of the company's leukemia drug Iclusig. 


Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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