The Fat Lady Has Sung On Baxalta’s Ariad Chase

How quickly things change. Last week, word was Baxter (BAX) spinoff Baxalta (BXLT) was in talks to acquire oncology focused Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA). The rumored $2b price tag sent Ariad shares soaring, but alas, today shares are crashing on word the deal has been called off. According to Bloomberg, there were a couple of pretty big issues that emerged:

As well as disagreements over price, Baxalta also backed off after receiving negative feedback about the prospect of a takeover of Ariad from some of its own investors, one of the people said.

High price and shareholder discontent – not a good combo. Baxalta is currently being aggressively pursued by Shire (SHPG)(who has offered a stock swap) and approaching Ariad appeared to be a case of ‘the best defense is a good offense’. Management’s opinion that Shire’s offer is too low doesn’t appear to have changed so it looks like the company will have to shift its focus to defense – and plead its case to shareholders – in order to fend off Shire.

Disclosure: Author holds no position in any stock mentioned.