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ImClone-Bristol Battle Is Really Gettin' Good

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Source: CNBC.com

I finished my last ImClone Systems vs. Bristol-Myers Squibb entry asking what Bristol had to say about IMCL's claim of a mystery outbidder.

Well, yesterday we found out in a press releasefrom BMY. Billionaire activist investor and IMCL Chairman Carl Icahn didn't waste any time firing back.

Late yesterday Icahn sent a "Dear John"...er, "Dear Jim" letterto Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO James Cornelius.

It was in response to a letter BMYsent to IMCL earlier in the day saying that it is not going to raise its $60-a-share offer. They're also engaged in a tit-for-tat dispute over who owns the rights to a promising drug in ImClone's pipeline.

Because of what this is turning into Leerink Swann yesterday suspended coverage of IMCL writing, "We believe that the IMCL shares represent primarily an arbitrage situation and will not trade on fundamentals. Our previous rating of IMCL was Outperform.

The second bidder is unlikely to be fictional as has been suggested. We believe that it is highly unlikely and unnecessary for the IMCL board and management to publicly make a false statement. However, it is clear that the second offer is not firm."

    • Who owns ImClone
    • Who owns Bristol

Icahn still isn't divulging the identity of that second bidder, but the last paragraph his latest missive is classic Icahn:

"Obviously, should you wish to make another offer which you believe we would not find inadequate, you are free to do so. Upon receipt of that offer, we will respond appropriately."

And then he signs off with, "Sincerely, Carl Icahn." I think etiquette prevented him from ending it with another term he might have otherwise preferred to use.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com