How Much Could MannKind Fetch? (MNKD, LLY, NVO, PFE)
MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD) is not without controversy. So what happens when you hear ‘buyout rumors’ driving the stock higher?
Barron’s reported a rumor first being published by TheFlyOnTheWall that MannKind could be a takeout buyout candidate. Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) was noted as the buyer, and $12.50 was the price hinted at.
The problem is that it is still an outstanding issue over whether or not MannKind will get its inhaled insulin approved by the FDA. The company has raised money and it has even gone as far as changing the name for AFREZZA.
To make matters even more complicated, MannKind is a highly-shorted stock. The most recent settlement date of September 15, 2010 showed that the short interest was down to 14.215 million shares. That was actually the lowest short interest since mid-April, but that represented 13 days to cover at the most recent time.
Recent financing has not been without criticism, and share lending arrangements are often hated by shareholders. The big catch here is that the inhalable insulin market will be huge if the safety risks can ever be overcome. Imagine no more needles for diabetics taking insulin. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has gone down this path before. It failed.
Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) has one monster insulin franchise, and it would likely do anything it could to protect its market share and its market cap is a whopping $57+ billion. Not bad for a Danish company, not bad at all. Its shares hit a new 52-week high of $99.75 today.
Options trading has been elevated today as well in MannKind trading, but the options expirations of JAN-2011 are the first month where the options start to price in any FDA event decisions.
In late-day trading, MannKind shares were up over 8% at $6.59, but the 52-week trading range is $4.76 to $11.12. The bet is an obvious one: inhalable insulin, if ever approved, is an easy blockbuster treatment.
Keep in mind that rumors have been out on MannKind before. Of course, most rumors turn out to be nothing more than unfounded rumors. The risks of acquiring a company without FDA approval are often too large for a large for a Big Pharma player. With a sub-$1 billion market cap, anything is possible.
JON C. OGG
September 29, 2010 (3:30 PM EST)