Initial takeover bids for Onyx seen as soon as this week -sources

NEW YORK, July 16 Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:30pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) - Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc is expected to receive first-round offers as soon as this week after attracting takeover interest from a few drugmakers including Amgen Inc, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Amgen, whose preliminary offer of $120 per share was rejected by Onyx's board in late June and led to an auction of the company, is still keen to buy Onyx and appears to be the more likely buyer, the people said this week.

Other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Gilead Sciences Inc have also been evaluating a deal, though it remains unclear if those parties will ultimately proceed with offers, the people cautioned.

While many big pharmaceutical and smaller biotech companies signed confidentiality agreements to take an initial look, some of the parties have already balked at Onyx's steep price tag and decided against bidding for the cancer drugmaker, they added.

There is no specific date for initial bids, but interested parties are expected to submit initial, non-binding offers over the course of this week, they said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

Representatives for Onyx and Pfizer declined to comment. Bristol-Myers, Gilead and Amgen could not be immediately reached for a comment.