Bye-bye cool tickers? DNA and BUD head for bin


Pity the guys who dreamt up two of Wall Street’s coolest tickers — DNA and BUD — both of which look set to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Genentech grabbed the three letters synonymous with biotechnology by being in on the ground floor of the gene revolution. Anheuser-Busch was lucky enough to have a beer brand known everywhere by one syllable. Now both look doomed. dna-global-logo.gif

Genentech faces a $43.7 billion bid from Roche for the 44 percent of the Californian biotech group that it doesn’t already own. Genentech is expected to succomb, albeit after a possibly sweetened offer. Anheuser has already agreed to a $52 billion takeover by InBev.

Their demise may take some of the fun out of stock trading – but investors shouldn’t despair. The thoughtful punter still has other options. sothebys.jpg

For example:

BID for auctioneer Sotheby’s

HOG for Harley-Davidson

TAP for brewer Molson Coors

JAVA for Sun Microsystems

CAR for Avis Budget

PZZA for pizza company Papa John’s

BLUD for blood test group Immucor

LUV for Southwest Airlines (after its Love Field airport in Dallas)

LVB for Steinway Musical Instruments (after Ludwig van Beethoven)

LIZ for Liz Claiborne

harley-davidson.jpgPUB for Britain’s Punch Taverns

WOOF for pet healthcare provider VCA Antech…does that take the biscuit?

Bubbling biotech

A general view shows the headquarter of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG in BaselWhile credit problems plague private equity buyouts and other corners of the M&A world, we’ve seen plenty of strategic deals going through and the Biotech sector is starting to look downright buoyant. Roche‘s $43.7 billion bid to buy out the remainder of Genentech is set to be the largest biotechnology acquisition ever and comes on the heels of a spate of big-ticket purchases. Industry analysts expect more to follow. “Just about every major drug company you talk to says they are devoting a much higher proportion of their own research and investment in stuff they are buying to biotech,” said Paul Diggle, an analyst at Nomura Code. “I suspect Amgen and Genzyme will be the two companies people think about next.” Big biotech deals over the recent past include Takeda Pharmaceutical‘s agreement to buy Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion, AstraZeneca’s purchase of MedImmune last year for $15.6 billion, Novartis‘s purchase of Speedel for about $880 million and GlaxoSmithKline’s record $3.3 billion insomnia drug licensing deal with Actelion.

Senior Goldman Sachs investment banker Ken Wilson will take a leave of absence to advise U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the nation’s banking crisis, people familiar with the matter said, while The Deal hinted the position may be less temporary. Wilson is a vice chairman of investment banking and chairman of financial institutions business at Goldman, where Paulson was CEO until 2006. Wilson has played a key role advising banks on capital raising and reorganizations. He is expected to help address the crisis gripping banks, Wall Street firms and mortgage lenders, the sources said. He is expected to serve without pay through January, when President George Bush’s second term ends.

Other deals of the day:

* British fund manager F&C Asset Management announced a tie-up that will create a UK-owned business with 8.5 billion pounds ($17 billion) of property assets under management.