Rival sources tangle over claim that Celgene is mulling 'horrid' HGS bid

Human Genome Sciences ($HGSI) has been hunting a white knight for weeks now. Faced with what it sees as a low-ball, $2.6 billion bid from GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which the pharma giant stubbornly refuses to raise, HGS has publicly opened the doors to the bid table and asked all interested parties to step up by July 16. Perhaps then it could get a bidding war started and the offers would rise.

Anyone? Anyone at all?

Late Friday HGS didn't exactly get its white knight. But it got the next best thing in the form of an exclusive Reuters story citing a source asserting that Celgene ($CELG) was pondering an offer. Not preparing one, mind you, but mulling one over. Celgene, you may recall, has been struggling to counter criticism that its expansion plan for Revlimid recently suffered a serious setback. Perhaps a buyout of a company with a weak but marketed product along with some late-stage programs of considerable promise could soothe upset investors. After all, Celgene has a pair of lupus drugs in mid-stage trials. And there was a second party running some numbers on a possible "merger of equals."

Rival news service Bloomberg–which loves a bidding war story, as well as market buzz--even picked up the story, citing Reuters. But TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein, who loves to play the spoiler, blasted away at the exclusive, reporting this morning that he had his own source who said the Celgene piece was rubbish.   

"Crazy. Nuts. Horrid. Putrid," was the way one unnamed analyst summed up the very idea of a Celgene bid. And Feuerstein put the whole thing down as a probable hoax by an investment banker interested in juicing things up for Human Genome Sciences, which is desperate to rev things up on the bid front.

Investors seemed willing to sit the whole thing out. Human Genome's shares are up only a few cents this morning in pre-market trading, still hovering somewhat above GSK's $13 offer at $13.73. 

- here's the Reuters story
- read the report from TheStreet

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HGS sets deadline for bids: Come and get it!
GSK, Human Genome go toe-to-toe in takeover standoff
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