Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI) announced Wednesday it would buy competitor Actavis for $5.6 billion- the latest deal in an already-white-hot market for biotech buyouts.
In fact, get this: Although healthcare deals in the first four months of 2012 are down 32% on a year-over-year basis compared with the same period in 2011, biotech mergers-and-acquisition deals are up 38% so far this year.
And biotech merger mania is far from over.
AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE ADR: AZN) early Monday offered to pay $1.1 billion for Ardea Biosciences Inc. (Nasdaq: RDEA).
And Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: AMLN) - a San Diego-based diabetes drugmaker whose shares recently surged after allegedly spurning a $3.5 billion offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) - appears to be seeking a buyer.
On Sunday, Reuters reported that Amylin has hired Credit Suisse AG (NYSE ADR: CS) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) as its financial advisers, and Skadden Arps as its legal adviser.
These deals have been going on all year.