Look, I totally get that Carl Icahn would take a big position in Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and want to put it in play. But you know what you need before you do that?
Who would buy a $92 billion company that has just had its head handed to it by Merck (MRK) , with its cancer drug Keytruda over BMY's Opdivo? Who would buy this company knowing that 50% of its revenues go off patent in a few years, even as they throw off a lot of cash before they go? Maybe someone who could see the company as a biotech and decides that it's worth it to pay up for an established company, believing that Opdivo could be worth $70 to $100 billion.
We know that Pfizer took itself out of the running last quarter when it said it didn't want to do a big deal. Merck sure doesn't need them; it has Keytruda. Eli Lilly's (LLY) got tremendous momentum with its diabetes franchise. Action Alerts PLUS holding Allergan (AGN) has said it doesn't want to do a big deal. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) just announced a monster deal -- so they aren't going to play.
That does leave AbbVie (ABBV) , which, I guess, is a possibility. But the dilution would be gigantic and AbbVie is focused on nearer-term earnings.
Europe? Sanofi wants to do a big deal, we know that. But I think they would buy Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) . Your basically counting on GlaxoSmithkline, Novartis or Astra-Zeneca.
All of them know the issues, which is that Bristol-Myers stock is overvalued based on the current state of Opdivo -- with its only other major drug being Eliquis, which is terrific but not enough to drive the train.
Here's my bottom line: Bristol has had a tough time of late, no doubt about it. But it doesn't have to sell, and there sure aren't a lot of buyers.
Without one, I think this might be a very tough one to get into right now, based on Icahn alone -- and nothing else that I can see driving the acquisition.