Rumor mill: BMS positioning itself for sale

Speculation that Bristol-Myers Squibb might be a takeover target--that's old news. Informed speculation based on certain strategic moves BMS has made recently--now that's worth passing on. Tim Anderson, the  Sanford Bernstein analyst, says he believes Bristol-Myers is actively entertaining the idea of selling itself. In a recent note to investors, Anderson ticked off his evidence. Two key patents expire in 2012, for Avapro and Plavix, and the same year, BMS loses U.S. rights to Abilify. But its pipeline is promising, and it has the second-smallest market cap among big drugmakers.

Additionally, Anderson notes, CEO Jim Cornelius recently bought 100,000 shares; is this a "calculated bet on the future of the company?" Its new CFO is an ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker. And the company recently announced plans to partially spin off its Mead Johnson nutritionals unit, which establishes fair value for that business in case any potential buyer wanted to keep or sell it.

This is circumstantial evidence to be sure. But rest assured that Anderson will keep his eyes peeled for more--so we should all keep an eye on him.

- read the story at Pharmalot