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Savient Said Unlikely to Sell Itself After Auction

Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. is unlikely to sell itself after a five-month auction process, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Novartis AG both looked at acquiring Savient and passed because of concern about price, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Savient’s advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lazard Ltd. have determined that a deal is not happening, one of the people said.

Savient said in May that it would pursue a sale if it won U.S. approval for its gout treatment Krystexxa, which came Sept. 14. Americans with chronic gout may pay tens of thousands of dollars a year for a biologic treatment that works when other drugs don’t. Savient’s current market value is $1.4 billion.

Shares of Savient dropped 7.6 percent, or $1.65, to $20.05 today before Nasdaq Stock Market trading was halted. The stock climbed 59 percent in 2010 before today as investors anticipated clearance of the gout drug and a possible sale.

Mary Coleman, a spokeswoman for Savient, based in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Eric Althoff, a spokesman for Novartis in Basel, Switzerland, didn’t immediately return calls for comment. Jennifer Fron Mauer, spokewoman for New York-based Bristol-Myers, declined to comment.

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