MorphoSys Surges on Novartis Takeover Speculation: Munich Mover

MorphoSys AG, a German biotechnology company, rose to the highest since March 2001 on speculation that its shareholder Novartis AG may make a bid for the company.

The shares advanced as much as 5.4 percent to 34.70 euros, and were up 4.4 percent at 9:12 a.m. in electronic trading. That extended the stock’s gain in the past 12 months to 77 percent. Volume traded was 57 percent of the three month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

MorphoSys is becoming more attractive as a takeover target due to management changes at Novartis, Elmar Kraus, an analyst at DZ Bank said in a note to clients today. Novartis’ incoming chairman, Joerg Reinhardt, was a member of MorphoSys’ supervisory board until 2004 and played a decisive role in establishing corporate strategy, Kraus said.

“We see significantly increased chances of a takeover by Novartis,” Kraus said. MorphoSys is now worth 40 euros a share, according to the analyst.

Claudia Gutjahr-Loeser, a spokeswoman for MorphoSys, declined to comment.

In November MorphoSys said it will expand an alliance with Novartis, using new technologies to boost the discovery of medicines with the Swiss drugmaker.

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