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Reports: Pfizer, Amgen Among Five Potential Suitors For Onyx

Cancer drug maker Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ONXX) is expecting interests from at least five potential bidders, including Pfizer, Inc. (PFE) and Amgen, Inc, (AMGN), after it put itself on the block in late June, according to media reports on Tuesday. A deal is expected to be reached by the end of summer.

The deal, which is expected to see initial non-binding bids coming in as early as this week, could be valued in excess of $10 billion.

Onyx had on June 30 rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal of $120 per share or $8.7 billion in cash from Amgen, deeming that the price significantly undervalued the company and was not in the best interest of Onyx or its shareholders. Onyx rejected Amgen's takeover offer after evaluating the proposal with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors.

Following the rejection, Onyx's board put the company on the block officially and authorized its financial advisor to contact potential suitors who may have an interest in the company. Centerview Partners, LLC is acting as financial advisor to Onyx and Goodwin Procter, LLP is acting as legal advisor.

The company said then that it is actively exploring the potential to combine Onyx with another company as an option to create additional value for Onyx shareholders.

Pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) are also said to be in the fray and could make possible bids. Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) and Bayer AG were reported to be interested in Onyx, but Eli Lilly decided to pullout and Bayer was apprehensive on the pricing.

Other drug makers who have opted not to pursue the deal include Novartis AG (NVS), GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), Sanofi SA (SNY) and Biogen Idec, Inc. (BIIB).

Despite the rejection of its initial bid, Amgen is said to be seen as the most likely buyer. Pfizer also could be a strong suitor as it already has existing ties with Onyx.

Onyx shares have surged more than 50 percent since it put itself on the block, indicating that a deal could be struck at a significant premium, and well above Amgen's initial offer of $120 per share, a 38 percent premium at that time to the unaffected share price of $86.82.

ONXX closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $132.71, up $1.54 or 1.17% on a volume of 3.55 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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