SeekingAlpha points to what he believes is Merck CEO Dick Clark either (i) mentioning a deal not yet done, or (ii) getting confused about a prior license deal, at a JP Morgan conference on January 12, 2010.
I think it is the latter -- as it is fairly common in pharma biz circles, to euphemistically refer to an in-license of technology as an "acquisition" of that technology, as a form of business-speak shorthand. Not perfect, but it conveys the sense of what happened. And I think that's what happened here. In any event, here's a snippet form SeekingAlpha -- do go read it all:
. . . ."And as we announced the Merck (MRK) BioVenture in the last year or so, we continue to do acquisitions with Insmed and relationships with Insmed and Avecia for a biological standpoint to build our infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities. So I think this will be an important part of our strategy. It’s not put on the back burner as some have suggested that would take place."
–- Merck transcript from JPM Healthcare Conference (pdf). . . .
Merck holders and not Insmed holders should be more worried if the CEO is getting confused with the merger deals that took place. 51 deals in one year is a lot but to specifically mention Insmed twice must mean something, right?
I am not so sure. And, as SeekingAlpha quite appropriately discloses, he owns a position in Insmed, so there would be at least some motivation on his part -- to infer more here. Me? I think it all fairly innocuous, myself.