Exelixis spurs takeover rumors with Goldman ploy

Just weeks after reaping a windfall from a public offering of its freshly fattened shares, Bloomberg reports that Exelixis has opted to turn Goldman Sachs' attention to any potential takeover offers that come its way. Quoting unnamed insiders close to the deal, Bloomberg also reported that some "large pharmaceutical companies" have expressed an interest in acquiring the company, which has garnered attention for cabozantinib, a promising prostate cancer treatment.

In this heated M&A environment, the market buzz had an immediate effect on Exelixis's shares, which swelled by more than 10 percent overnight as investors eagerly absorbed the rumor du jour. Regardless of how accurate Bloomberg's sources may be, the report gives management some fresh positive attention as a potential takeover target. A spokesperson for the company notes that Exelixis has had a longstanding relationship with Goldman, which handled the recent public offering.

Exelixis CEO Michael Morrissey has been on a tear in recent months, promoting the potential of cabozantinib (XL184). After taking over in the wake of George Scangos' departure to helm Biogen Idec, he's announced plans to cut more than half of the staff and turned the spotlight at the company-once known for its big pipeline--solely on the prostate cancer program.

Cabozantinib had been partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which opted to drop its interest in the drug. That leaves Exelixis in sole control of the treatment, which would add to its allure.

- here's the report from Bloomberg