King gets access to Alpharma books

Methinks Alpharma did protest too much. The hard-to-get target of King Pharmaceuticals' takeover suit, Alpharma scorned King's first offer of $33 a share, and then spurned a sweetened $37 bid. Plenty of other people want us, Alpharma claimed. But now Alpharma says it will negotiate with King, at least privately; the company told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it's inking a confidentiality agreement with its previously rebuffed partner.

No guarantees that a deal will be forthcoming, of course. But letting King into its books seems to put the lie to the supposed competing bids. Perhaps just the usual pre-negotiating bluster, designed to eke out as much value for shareholders as possible. Stay tuned for Alpharma's next move.

- see the Pharmalot post