InterMune Acquisition Could Ignite These Biotech ETFs

ETF Trends

Monday could prove to be another day of biotechnology merger mania for the exchange traded funds holding the sector’s stocks after Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche announced Sunday it will acquire InterMune (ITMN) for $8.3 billion in cash.

Roche will pay $74 per share for InterMune, which represents a 38% premium to the California-based company’s Friday closing price. InterMune is “focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative therapies in pulmonology and fibrotic diseases,” according to a statement announcing the acquisition issued Sunday.

News of Roche’s takeover of InterMune could prove to be good news for mutliple biotech ETFs, including one fund that can already lay claim to being 2014’s top-performing health care ETF. The First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (FBT) has an almost 6% weight to InterMune, making the stock the ETF’s largest holding.

FTB is up 6.8% in the past month and recently touched a new all-time high, solidifying the silliness of prior clarion calls of a biotech ETF bubble. The InterMune takeover could easily drive FBT higher as the ETF has previously shown a positive sensitivity to biotech mergers and acquisitions news. [So Much for the Biotech ETF Bubble]

Speaking of biotech ETFs that have previously been boosted by takeover news, the PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio (PBE) surged in June when Merck (MRK) said it would acquire Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) for $3.85 billion.

At the time the deal was announced, Idenix was PBE’s ninth-lagest holding with a weight of 3%. The ETF enters Monday with 3.48% allocation to InterMune, enough to make the stock the fund’s tenth-largest holding. [Why These Biotech ETFs are Surging]

InterMune occupies weights of 1.54% and 1.16%, respectively, in the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGS: IBB ). IBB is the largest biotech ETF with almost $5.3 billion in assets.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund

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ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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