Bidding for Biogen Idec Could Begin in Early November, Report Says

Biogen Idec, which has put itself up for sale under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, could receive its initial bids for the company in the first 10 days of November, the Financial Times reported today. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) are reportedly the two leading contenders to purchase the pioneering Cambridge biotech, according to the publication.

“Confidentiality agreements have been signed, noted people familiar with the situation, with parties readying themselves for a bidding process that could potentially end up being a two horse race between Pfizer and Novartis,” the FT reported. One hangup in the process, the publication added, was that Biogen has not yet turned over its books to potential bidders, making it hard to appraise the company’s situation and come up with a valuation. “If we don’t know the color of the cat, it is difficult to buy something you don’t know,” the FT quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The account was entirely based on unnamed sources. It noted, however, as we have also reported, that even with bids coming in, a final sale could be a long ways off. One complicating factor is that Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) shares rights to both its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and its cancer drug Rituxan with other firms—Elan (NYSE:ELN) and Genentech (NYSE:DNA), respectively. A change in control of Biogen reportedly gives its partners the ability to purchase the rest of the rights to the shared drugs—a provision that could significantly impact a potential sale.

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