Imclone To Remain Independent
ImClone Systems on Thursday said it will remain independent because several offers to acquire the company were too low, the Wall Street Journal reports (Loftus, Wall Street Journal, 8/11). Officials for ImClone in December 2005 announced that the company had hired the investment bank Lazard to explore several options, such as a sale, merger or strategic partnership.
ImClone officials said they were exploring such options because the company requires more resources to develop new products and help avoid the effects of future competition (American Health Line, 1/26).
ImClone's interim CEO Joseph Fischer said that no bidder met the asking price and that board members now are confident that its independence will bring greater shareholder value.
However, "analysts said that the picture wasn't so rosy and that the company, which has a market value of about $2.4 billion, simply couldn't find a buyer willing to pay a premium," the Journal reports.
ImClone also said yesterday that it has invited billionaire investor Carl Icahn to be a member of the company's slate of director nominees for election at its annual meeting in September. Icahn currently holds about 10% of ImClone shares. The company said it has asked Icahn to recommend a "highly qualified individual" to act as independent director of the company.
Gene Mack, a biotechnology analyst at HSBC Securities in New York, said, "We believe ImClone will have to spend more in the near term in order to protect and support the growth of Erbitux as well as continue the development of the company's pipeline. This paints a bleaker picture for investors over the near term until a growth catalyst emerges" (Wall Street Journal, 8/11).