Baxalta won't rush into M&A to fend off Shire takeover, CFO says

We've seen it plenty in recent pharma M&A: Unenthused deal target pursues its own pickup to dodge an unwanted suitor. But Baxalta ($BXLT), the object of Shire's ($SHPG) interest, is not going to be that company.

Baxalta CFO Robert Hombach

As Chief Financial Officer Robert Hombach said during a webcast from the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare conference, the newly spun-off company isn't going to rush into defensive M&A just to throw its wannabe acquirer for a loop, Reuters reports.

Sure, Baxalta is interested in striking deals that fit with its strategy. But it's not going to change that strategy "just because somebody knocked on our door on day 1," he said, as quoted by the news service.

Baxalta CEO Ludwig Hantson

Shire first approached Baxalta just 9 days into its life without parent company Baxter ($BAX), and its youth is one reason Baxalta shot the proposal down. As CEO Ludwig Hantson has told investors, the Chicago-area drugmaker hasn't had time to execute its strategy or live up to its potential on its own.

Shortly thereafter, though, reports said Baxalta was in buyout talks with Ariad ($ARIA)--a target that could have bolstered Baxalta's oncology portfolio had the two sides not folded on a price disagreement. But Ariad, whose market cap sat around $1.5 billion at the time--a number that swelled to at least $1.7 billion on the deal speculation--wouldn't necessarily have been a big enough addition to deter a buyer like Shire.

Over the past couple of years of rampant dealmaking, though, plenty of other pharma companies have gone the defensive route. Allergan ($AGN), for one, reportedly approached both Shire and Salix in its attempts to frustrate predator Valeant ($VRX) before Actavis staged a white-knight swoop in to acquire the company for $66 billion.

- see the Reuters news

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