M&A in the pharma air

The mergers-and-acquisitions market has been slow for the last couple years, but two possible mergers are in the pharmaceutical air.

Actually, as colleague Mike Armstrong always notes, there are no mergers. One company buys another and gets to make the rules.

Anyway, multiple reports says that Roche is trying to buy Illumina and Bristol-Myers Squibb is trying to buy Amylin.

Roche has facilities in the North Jersey towns of Nutley and Branchburg.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose top selling drug is Plavix ($7.1 billion in 2011), has five New Jersey locations: Hopewell, Nassau Park, New Brunswick, Plainsboro and Princeton.

Amylin and Illumina are both based in San Diego.

The Financial Times reported that Swiss-based Roche raised its cash offer for Illumina by 15 percent to $51 a share, valuing Illumina at about $6.7 billion.

“Based on our discussions with Illumina shareholders we have seen interest to accelerate the takeover process,” said Severin Schwan, Roche’s chief executive, according to the Financial Times.

Bloomberg reported that Bristol-Myers Squibb made an unsolicited bid of $3.5 billion for Amylin. Thus far, it has not been accepted. Indeed, Bloomberg suggested it might spur others to bid.