Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) has agreed to acquire Kite Pharma (Nasdaq: KITE), a Santa Monica, Calif.-based cancer immunotherapy company. The deal is valued at $11 billion in cash, or $180 per share (29% premium over Friday's closing price). Kite Pharma's largest outside shareholder is Capital Research & Management, with nearly a 19% stake.
- Why it's the BFD: This is a remarkable reversal of fortune for Kite, which earlier this year was a favorite for short-sellers. Shorts represented 17.6% of Kite's float as of May 31, although that figure was down to (a still substantial) 14.1% on August 15. They basically were betting against Kite receiving regulatory approval for its lead candidate, with a decision expected by November. But now Gilead has preempted the FDA and squeezed the remaining shorts like a tube of toothpaste.
- Bottom line: "Gilead gained its two blockbuster hepatitis C drugs through the 2011 purchase of Pharmasset, but investors have been clamoring for Gilead to use its mountains of cash to add another potentially game-changing drug to its portfolio. The acquisition of Kite, which makes a novel therapy using immune-system cells to fight cancer cells, is that shot." -- Axios' Bob Herman
• Veritas Capital has hired Goldman Sachs to run a dual-track exit process for Excelitas Technologies, a Waltham, Mass.-based electronics components maker that could be worth upwards of $2 billion in a sale, according to Reuters. The story adds that Veritas also is seeking a buyer for Anaren, an East Syracuse, N.Y.-based maker of radar parts that could be worth around $1 billion. http://reut.rs/2wTIsO3
• Katsuyuki Kuki has joined The Blackstone Group as chairman and representative director for Japan. He previously was chairman of banking for J.P. Morgan in Japan. http://reut.rs/2vCI42d
• Brian Walsh has joined McKinsey & Co. as general manager of corporate VC solutions, per his LinkedIn account. He previously was North America new venture lead for the Konica Minolta Business Innovation Center, and also was CEO of Vital Herd and a principal with energy-focused VC firm Nth Power.