It’s in the Genes

March 10, 2009

The market may be sickly, but Genentech investors are in that most rare place, holding a stock that is close to its lifetime high of just over $100 with a suitor repeatedly raising its bid for the company like it was 2006 all over again.

While Swiss drugmaker Roche says its latest official bid of $93 per share for the U.S. biotech, made last Friday, is fair, a source tells us they are prepared to go to $95, valuing the deal at $46.7 billion. Roche shareholders seem happy with the bidding so far, trading the shares higher today as the company talks to investors at its AGM.

Genentech would give Roche a big shot of lucrative cancer drugs and other medicines, including Avastin, which is approved to treat advanced colon, breast and lung cancers and is being tested for several other uses. And with Big Pharma marriages all the rage in ’09, Genentech investors must feel like the best natural selection in the market right now.

Deals of the Day:

* The parent of China Shipping Development may sell its LNG business with the parent of PetroChina to the listed vehicle, analysts said.

* China is reviewing Coca-Cola’s bid to acquire China Huiyuan Juice Group under the anti-monopoly law, Commerce Minister Chen Demin said on Tuesday.

* Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, bought out Tokio Marine Holdings’ stake in a jointly owned Brazilian insurance group for 678 million reais ($284.9 million), aiming to strengthen its position in Brazil.

* Precious metals company Hochschild Mining PLC said on Tuesday it agreed to buy Southwestern Resources for $17.5 million in cash.

(PHOTO: A forensic expert points on the image of a genetic blueprint in the DNA lab at the new building for the crime tech institute in Wiesbaden February 29, 2008.   REUTERS/Alex Grimm)

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