Bristol-Myers Sweetens ImClone Offer

Drug maker said it was boosting its previously rebuffed offer for the portion of biotech company ImClone Systems that it doesn’t already own to $62 per share, or $4.7 billion.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A rebuffed Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is trying to entice the shareholders of biotech company ImClone Systems Inc. with a sweetened $62-per-share tender offer.

Bristol-Myers on Monday said it was boosting its previous $60-per-share offer for the portion of ImClone that the drug maker doesn't already own. It valued the new offer at $4.7 billion.

After being rebuffed by ImClone's board, led by its Chairman Carl Icahn, Bristol-Myers said it was taking the offer directly to ImClone shareholders and beginning a tender offer.

The latest bid comes two weeks after ImClone said it was mulling a competing buyout offer worth $70 per share -- roughly $6.1 billion -- from an unidentified large pharmaceutical company. A two-week period for that suitor to examine the company is set to expire later this week.

Billionaire activist shareholder Icahn has said Bristol-Myers' previous bid undervalued the company.

Bristol-Myers and ImClone, both based in New York, have been partners since September 2001 when they began developing Erbitux, which is approved for treating advanced colorectal cancer and head and neck cancers. Bristol-Myers already owns 17 percent of ImClone's shares.

Bristol-Myers gets 61 percent of Erbitux's U.S. and Canadian sales, or roughly one-quarter of global sales, which totaled $1.35 billion last year and could approach $2 billion this year. Bristol has said it won't give up its share of Erbitux.

But Bristol-Myers executives said Monday evening that they're increasingly frustrated with the delay since they submitted their first bid for ImClone two months ago.

"These delays, combined with ImClone's lack of transparency, have created a protracted period of uncertainty among your stockholders, employees and other constituents which could hurt the intrinsic value of ImClone's assets," Bristol-Myers Chief Executive and Chairman James M. Cornelius wrote in a letter Monday to ImClone's board. "Particularly in light of the current extraordinary market conditions, there needs to be an orderly and transparent process with a clearly delineated timeline in order to expedite a resolution of ImClone's future."

A message left with an ImClone spokeswoman wasn't immediately returned after hours Monday.

Bristol-Myers shares fell 38 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $20.62 in trading Monday. Meanwhile, ImClone shares fell 38 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $59.40 before climbing nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.

More in Supply Chain