Buzz: Ariad soars on reports that Baxalta has come calling about a buyout

Shire ($SHPG) has been quiet since making its unwelcomed $30 billion bid to acquire Baxalta public earlier this month. But Baxalta ($BXLT) evidently isn't waiting for the next step to play out in that dance. Bloomberg is reporting this afternoon that Baxalta is hunting for an acquisition around the $2 billion mark that would add to its hematology pipeline.

Bloomberg's sources weren't immediately able to come up with a name for the target, but absent any facts speculation on Twitter (including an insightful remark from Adam Feuerstein at TheStreet) focused on the troubled Ariad ($ARIA), which saw its shares swiftly shoot up on the buzz. The shares really started to move after Bloomberg reported that Baxalta was focused on Ariad, which was amplified by CNBC's Meg Tirrell in a followup report

Ariad's stock ended up 42% for the day.

Ariad had a market cap of $1.5 billion ahead of the story, which would fit the general bill for the buyout rumor. Ariad has been selling off assets, including future royalties in Iclusig for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, while backing a Phase III study for brigatinib. The biotech has also been searching for a replacement for CEO Harvey Berger.

A spokesperson for Ariad said the company isn't commenting on the reports.

Freshly spun out from Baxter ($BAX), Baxalta has been busy creating a new research hub in Cambridge, MA, looking for new deals that will help it meet a goal of launching 20 new drugs by 2020. Baxalta execs pooh-poohed Shire's all-stock offer when it was made public, saying that Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov was making a low-ball offer for the company and its rare-disease assets before it could prove its potential as a standalone. 

Baxalta reportedly had no immediate public response to the story. Its shares were down 4% in early afternoon trading. At $35 a share, investors have seen Baxalta stock trade well beneath Shire's $45 swap option, indicating that few think that deal is going anywhere fast. 

- here's the Bloomberg report

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