Ariad Shares Rise Amid Speculation of Potential Buyout

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., a takeover target last year before talks failed over the price, rose the most in a month on speculation that the drugmaker may be a buyout candidate yet again.

Posts on Twitter suggested that Ariad, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company developing oncology drugs, is a takeout target that would command a large premium. The shares climbed 6.5 percent to $12.90 at 3:24 p.m.

Liza Heapes, an Ariad spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ariad investors have been here before. In August 2015, Baxalta Inc. was said to have expressed interest in a buyout deal with Ariad, then a month later to have dropped its pursuit over disagreements in price. Baxalta also received negative feedback about the takeover from some of its own investors, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Speculation about pharmaceutical and health-care takeovers is swirling as Allergan Plc announced two acquisitions in less than a week. Allergan said Tuesday that it agreed to buy Tobira Therapeutics Inc. for as much as $1.7 billion to gain an experimental liver drug and said Sept. 14 that it would purchase Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc., a maker of skin treatments, for $639 million. Ariad is well positioned to be acquired, said Michael Yee, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets who covers biotech.  

“You have many large pharma companies, buyers, who have said publicly that they are looking for exactly these types of acquisitions,” he said in a telephone interview.

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