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Bristol Buys Inhibitex for $2.5 Billion to Compete in Hepatitis

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay about $2.5 billion in cash to buy Inhibitex Inc., the second maker of hepatitis C drugs to be acquired within two months as companies jockey for position in a developing $20 billion market.

Inhibitex, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, said it will recommend that its shareholders accept Bristol's offer of $26 per share, the companies said in a statement yesterday. That’s more than double its $9.87 closing price on Jan. 6.