Biogen Idec in play after Icahn makes his move

Biotech powerhouse Biogen Idec has brought in some of Wall Streets top dealmakers to explore a possible sale of the company, which would fetch well over $20 billion. In fact, says Biogen Idec, the company already has one interested suitor in Carl Icahn (photo), who recently acquired 2.7 million shares of Biogen Idec and reportedly offered $23 billion for the company last week. Icahn recently took effective control of ImClone, but only after roasting its executives for months. Biogen Idec's next step will be to determine if any of the big pharma companies that have been spending big bucks for biologics will rush in to bid against Icahn. The company says that any sale is contingent on a number of factors, and may never happen, but bringing in Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch clearly puts the company in play, raising issues about its partnership with Elan on Tysabri.

Elan, meanwhile, has brought in Lehman Brothers to give it advice. The Irish company owns half of Tysabri, which has been rebuilding its MS sales after being pulled from the market shortly after it was introduced. Elan--which also saw its shares rise on the news from Biogen Idec, could acquire Biogen Idec's share in the drug for "fair value," sell their interest or maintain the current position. Investors loved what they heard and immediately rushed to push up shares of Biogen Idec by 18 percent in after-hours trading on Friday.

- see Biogen's release on the $23 billion bid
- here's the AP report on the dealmaking
- MarketWatch looks at the implications for Elan

ALSO: Take a look at the Big Pharma companies that are most likely to make a bid for Biogen. Report

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Read more on: Biogen Idec | Carl Icahn | Elan