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Biogen Idec Blinks: Is It Enough for Facet Biotech, or Will the Drama Continue?

Biogen Idec (BIIB) says $17.50 per share is its "best and final offer" to buy-out Facet Biotech (FACT), its partner on multiple sclerosis drug daclizumab.

But is this biotech soap opera really nearing its season finale? Analysts aren't so sure.

In case you missed the first few dramatic episodes, here's a recap:

  • Biogen proposed to Facet with a $15-per-share acquisition offer
  • Facet went behind Biogen's back to engage in some torrid partnering activity with Trubion Pharmaceuticals
  • Scandalized, Biogen lowered its offer to $14.50
  • Facet refused, leaving Biogen at the alter
  • Biogen sought to turn Facet's children against it with a hostile takeover
  • Paternity testing revealed that Biogen and Facet are actually related (this is kind of true: Facet President and CEO Faheem Hasnain used to head oncology at Biogen)
  • Facet's true love, who was assumed to be dead, was actually alive but suffering from amnesia (ok, I made that part up).
Adding to the soap opera flavor has been Biogen's patronizing, threatening tone throughout this exchange. The company said it was "deeply disappointed" in the Trubion affair, then called Facet "desirable but not a must have." Biogen president and CEO James Mullen warned:
We already own a 50% interest in daclizumab--We do not intend to overpay for the rest. -- If Facet stockholders choose not to accept our offer, they will bear--100% of the risks associated with Facet's interest in other development stage drugs.
To which Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Michael King responded:
GASP!! You mean biotech companies LOSE MONEY and shareholders have to TAKE RISK?!?!?
BNET predicted that Biogen would blink first in this game of chicken, but King doesn't think the firm's $17.50-per-share "best and final offer" is good enough. It may be 98 percent above where Facet was trading before the saga began, but it's a measly two percent premium to Facet's Thursday closing price. King told BioWorld Today he thinks "something in the 20s" is needed to get the job done.
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