Analysts put BMS on takeover menu

Analysts are salivating over Bristol-Myers Squibb. Healthy earnings and sales growth, coupled with a stock price down by about a third since last July, makes the drugmaker "an attractive takeover candidate for a larger pharma," a Zacks Investment Research analyst wrote to investors, upgrading the stock to "buy" from "hold." A Standard & Poor's analyst concurs, saying BMS "could offer significant value in a merger with the right partner."

And just which Big Pharma might that partner be? Zacks mentioned Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, which have worked with Bristol on some products. Plavix, for instance, is a joint promo with Sanofi, and the anti-clotting drug is growing fast; plus, the med may also help cut risk of heart attack or stroke in atherosclerosis patients. But Plavix's patent expires in 2011--and that's where Pfizer speculation comes in. It's Bristol's development partner on Apixaban, another anti-clotting product.

- read the story in Business Week