Facet Biotech Corp.'s (FACT) board rejected Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) raised $420 million acquisition offer and said investors shouldn't tender shares at Biogen's "inadequate" bid, though it opened up the possibility of entering due-diligence talks.
Facet shares rose 2.9% to $17.90 premarket on word of potential cooperation between the companies. Through Wednesday the stock was up 81% in 2009.
A combination of the two biotechnology firms, which already collaborate on multiple sclerosis and oncology drugs, would join companies with focuses on autoimmune disease and cancer.
Last week, Biogen boosted its bid 21% to $17.50 a share after Facet had rebuffed its original offer at $14.50. It gave investors a Dec. 16 deadline to respond to its "best and final" proposition, while Facet initially told its shareholders to hold off action until the board responded.
Chief Executive Faheem Hasnain said Thursday that Biogen Idec was undervaluing Facet's assets while overstating its liabilities. "Their offer demonstrates an incomplete understanding of our pipeline and technologies," he added.
He went on to say that there has been third-party interest in the company and Facet's financial adviser will solicit additional third-party interest.
-By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; firstname.lastname@example.org