Ventana lets Roche looks at its books

Here's some news that could renew hopes for a long-shot merger deal. Ventana has opened the door--or at least agreed to open its books--to Roche. As one blogger put it, Ventana CEO Christopher Gleeson (photo) must be a great poker player. For months, the company has been rebuffing Roche's advances. But now, Ventana's board has voted to let its suitor in on the company financials. The idea, of course, is to show Roche just why Gleeson has scoffed at $75 per share as "grossly inadequate."

The two companies inked a confidentiality agreement to cloak the due diligence in appropriate secrecy. This just two weeks after Roche extended its offer for the fourth time, a move Gleeson called "futile." Why? Perhaps because fighting off Roche is costing Ventana millions every quarter in legal fees.

Of course there's no guarantee that Roche will up its offer after poring over Ventana's books, or that Ventana would accept if asked. Investors took the bait, though; Ventana stock shot up to $95 per share on the news.

- see the release from Ventana
- here's Roche's release
- read the article from the Financial Times
- check out this item at the In Vivo blog