Merck & Co. is in advanced talks to acquire Seagen Inc. and could reach an agreement as soon as this month, people familiar with the matter said.
An offer price of at least $200 per share is under discussion, one of the people said. That would represent a roughly 14 percent premium to Seagen’s last closing price and translate into a valuation of $37 billion or more, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Merck has been studying Seagen’s books in recent weeks and aims to announce a deal leading into its own earnings, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. Merck is slated to report second-quarter results on July 28.
While negotiations are at advanced stage, they may still be delayed or falter, the people said. A representative for Seagen declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Merck didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Merck was in advanced talks on a potential bid of more than $200 a share for Seagen, citing unidentified people.
Founded in 1998, Bothell, Washington-based Seagen develops cancer therapies using antibody conjugate and sugar-engineered antibody technologies, according to its website. Its shares have risen about 13 percent in New York this year, giving the company a market value of about $32 billion.
Merck has faced investor pressure to diversify beyond the cancer drug Keytruda, which is its most profitable medication and will face cheaper competition starting in 2028. It is among several companies that have been on the hunt for future blockbuster drugs through acquisitions, including Sanofi, Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Gilead Sciences Inc. and Roche Holding AG.
Last year, Merck bought Acceleron Pharma Inc. for about $11 billion. Acceleron’s pipeline focuses on a particular type of protein that plays a central role in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation and repair. The company’s main candidate is a pulmonary arterial hypertension drug called Sotatercept, which is in late-stage development.