Buzz: Big Pharma suitors line up for a look at Amylin's books

One of the cardinal rules involved in deal-making focuses on the need to get as many buyers to the negotiating table as possible. The next big rule: Make sure everyone knows who's interested in bidding.

Amylin--while maintaining a strict no comment policy ever since initial reports appeared the Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) had made an offer--has scored on both points with a Bloomberg report out this morning assessing the line of potential bidders queuing up to take a confidential look at the books. By the business news service's count, fed by an inside source, Pfizer ($PFE), AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Sanofi ($SNY) have all signed confidentiality agreements, joining Merck ($MRK), Takeda, Roche ($RHHBY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb at the auction block.

With a market cap of $4 billion, Amylin ($AMLN) can be bought for a reasonable enough sum, offering up product revenue and a background in diabetes development that would complement quite a few potential acquirers. Amylin spent $162 million last year on R&D. But its newly approved Bydureon could prove a much tougher sale than some would like to take on.

"Diabetes is an area companies either want a position in or want a stronger position in," Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Clark tells Bloomberg. "Amylin is not a massive financial stretch so it comes down to what companies' alternatives are, whether there are other synergies involved and who it makes the most sense to. Some companies are more desperate for revenue sources than others."  

That last point on desperation indicates that AstraZeneca, at least, may be more willing than the others to pay a premium for Amylin. Sanofi, meanwhile, is reportedly undeterred that its experimental lixisenatide would compete with Amylin's drug roster. And that could leave Amylin--along with its advisers from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs--right where it wants to be: At the center of a bidding war. Even Carl Icahn would have to admire that strategy.

- here's the story from Bloomberg