ImClone: Suitor due diligence finished

ImClone Systems Inc., the New York cancer drug developer said to be in talks to be acquired by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., disclosed late yesterday that the suitor had “completed due diligence and made a proposal not subject to financing or further due diligence.”

ImClone didn’t identify the suitor, but said it is a large pharmaceutical company that requested its name not be divulged until negotiations are completed.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Lilly had offered $70 per share, or $6.1 billion, for ImClone. The newspaper cited unidentified sources familiar with the deal.

If Lilly indeed is the potential buyer, the company would be competing with one of its former executives for ImClone.

The other company interested in buying ImClone, Bristol-Myers Squibb, is led by CEO Jim Cornelius, who was the chief financial officer at Lilly before he left in 1995 to become chairman of Guidant Corp., a Lilly spin-off headquartered in Indianapolis that makes heart defibrillators.

Cornelius joined New York-based Bristol after Guidant was sold to Massachusetts-headquartered Boston Scientific Corp. in 2006 for $27 billion.

Bristol-Myers, which has a 17-percent stake in ImClone, upped its offer to $62 a share last month after staging an unexpected acquisition offer of $60 per share in July.

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