Playing hardball, Bristol-Myers bought out a battered Celgene with last-minute terms sweetened in its own favor

It turns out that Bristol-Myers Squibb has had a longstanding appetite to bag Celgene. But back in the spring of 2017, when execs on both sides engaged in initial talks on a “merger of equals” at a time Celgene’s shares traded at around $125, nothing came of it.

And that proved to be enormously beneficial to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which wound up playing hardball with Celgene CEO Mark Alles — changing the terms at the last minute and switching out cash for a risky CVR. For a battered and bruised board at Celgene, less cash proved to be better than going it alone in 2019.

Top execs at Celgene will earn a rich windfall from the deal, as you'll see below, which some analysts are still questioning.

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