Actelion shares surge (again) as M&A buzz hits fever pitch

Sometimes, it's what you don't say that gets investors whipped up. Heated rumors of a possible takeover of Switzerland's Actelion, a Roche spinout, turned red hot after the company noted that it is always engaged in routine talks with other biopharma companies. And Amgen ($AMGN) fanned the flames when it declined to comment on rumors that it is angling to acquire the company.

"As part of its ordinary course of business, the company is in regular dialogue with other industry participants," Actelion noted in a statement.

Quoting sources, Bloomberg reports today that Amgen is considering making an offer for Actelion. Investors responded by scooping up more shares of the European biotech company, driving their value up 8.5 percent. And Actelion CEO Jean-Paul Clozel is reportedly kicking around the idea of asking Roche or J&J or Bristol-Myers Squibb to grab a minority stake in the company as a defensive measure.

Amgen isn't the only big biopharma company staying mum when asked about Actelion. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Roche CEO Severin Schwan also declined to comment on any interest he may have in nabbing the developer. Roche created Actelion 13 years ago when it handed the company a portfolio of therapies it no longer wanted.

Actelion got the buzz working in its favor earlier this year when it created a board committee to explore its various alternative strategies, which is often company-speak for scouting for a buyer. The biotech has been hit by a string of clinical setbacks as it seeks a successor to Tracleer, which provides the bulk of its revenue.

- here's the Bloomberg story
- see the Dow Jones report
- check out the story from Reuters