Raleigh-based Salix Pharmaceuticals is working with investment bank Centerview Partners to explore its options, including a possible sale, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the issue.
Trading of Salix shares was briefly halted Tuesday after the news broke. The stock closed Tuesday up $5.64, or nearly 5 percent, at $125.83.
Earlier this month Salix CEO Carolyn Logan announced her retirement, which some analysts took as a sign that the company is open to being acquired. Logan has been replaced on an interim basis by Tom D'Alonzo, who has been chairman of Salix's board of directors since June 2010.
Salix was reportedly in talks with several potential suitors in the months before it restated its drug inventory levels in November. That disclosure led the company to lose $3 billion of its market value in a single day, as investors fretted about whether the company's previous earnings would need to be restated.
In December, Salix announced that it expects to reduce the inventory of three of its drugs to three months by the end of 2015 – about a year earlier than it had previously announced.