Buyer: Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY)
Price: $2.5 billion
Closed: Feb. 13, 2012
This was the ugliest of the top 10 deals of the year. In January, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $2.5 billion for Inhibitex to snatch its lead hepatitis C drug, and in August, the whole thing went down the tubes. It is one reason the investment site Motley Fool nominated CEO Lamberto Andreotti for the year's "worst CEO." Ouch.
When BMS bought the company, it was betting on getting a piece of a market for next-generation hep C drugs that is estimated to hit $20 billion a year. But when a patient died of heart failure during a trial and 8 others had to be hospitalized, the program was folded and BMS wrote off $1.8 million.
Did any good come out of this for anyone? BMS got a $392 million tax benefit that lifted its fourth-quarter profit 8.6%. Who would have guessed the whole thing was a tax strategy?