Is Carl Icahn (photo) having some more fun with Biogen Idec, or are investors really convinced that this time, the rumors of a buyout are true? Biogen stock flew upward yesterday as much as 7 percent before closing 4.9 percent higher than Monday. Trading volume spiked, too. Plus, investors snapped up some 75,000 options contracts during the day--more than 10 times the 20-day average.
What gives? European traders are chattering about a potential buyout offer from Sanofi-Aventis, for one thing. No confirmation from anyone close to the rumored deal, however, so for now it remains a rumor.
A potential Biogen sale has been talked about on and off for months and months. Carl Icahn forced the company to seek bids in late 2007, and since then, takeover talk surfaces occasionally. With Icahn in a proxy battle with management, seeking to seat his own directors on the board and make other changes at the company, some have presumed that the corporate raider might try to force another sale attempt. And Sanofi certainly has been on a buyout roll--though its appetite has been sharpest for emerging-markets deals.