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Amylin shareholder sues board for self-enrichment

Lawsuit accuses directors of hiding BMS bid to load up on options
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Here's another potential wrench in the works for Amylin Pharmaceuticals ($AMLN). Shareholder Paul Berger sued the company's board, accusing directors of hiding a buyout bid from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY)for personal profit. According to the suit, the board turned away Bristol-Myers' $3.5 billion offer and kept it quiet while they bought up stock options.

We know what happened after news of that bid went public: Amylin put itself up for sale and major drugmakers lined up with offers. Then, activist investor Carl Icahn stepped in with his own accusations. Icahn sued to find out more about Amylin's $22-per-share offer from Bristol-Myers--and to buy time to mount a proxy fight.

Icahn eventually backed off after a still-secret conversation with Amylin CEO Daniel Bradbury. At the time, Icahn said he was satisfied that the company was committed to the sale process. Whether Berger's allegations will bring Icahn back into the fray is an open question.

The shareholder derivative suit follows questions from FDA about Amylin's handling of safety-related data when seeking approval of its diabetes drug Bydureon, a long-acting version of its Byetta product. A top agency official accused Amylin of stonewalling during the Bydureon review process.

Meanwhile, Amylin's sale process continues apace. As Reuters reports, 5 Big Pharmas are still on the hunt for the diabetes-drug specialist: Novartis ($NVS), Sanofi ($SNY), AstraZeneca ($AZN), Merck & Co. ($MRK), and, yes, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Amylin's market value is now about $4.5 billion, with shares up to $28 yesterday. Before the Bristol-Myers bid went public March 28, Amylin was trading around $15.

- see the story from Law360
- get more from Reuters

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