Actelion hires Goldman, law firm to fend off Elliott Advisors

Actelion has hired Goldman Sachs in a move that indicates the Swiss biotech may eventually be sold to the right bidder. The company also retained the services of law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to help fend off calls for the company to put itself up on the auction block. Shareholder Elliott Advisors, which owns 6 percent of the company's stock, is urging others to replace board members with new management that will consider a possible sale.

CEO Jean-Paul Clozel says the company should remain independent until Phase III data is available for the lung drug macitentan in late 2011. "While Actelion is signaling with this that it does not intend to comply with Elliott Advisors' demands, it opens up the possibility of Goldman finding a white knight willing to pay up for the pipeline," Bank Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss wrote, according to Bloomberg.

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