Early Friday morning, Jon Najarian of optionMONSTER fame noted (on his site as well as CNBC) some 'unusual' action in an illiquid little stock called Inhibitex (INHX). It turns out that over the weekend, that same company was purchased by BMY for $2.5bn (or $26 per share - more than double the closing print of $9.87 on January 6th). This won't be the first time we have 'helped' Mary (Schapiro) and her little SEC lambs but it seems surprising that this would not generate at least an 'alert' when as Najarian so promptly pointed out on Friday - a total of 11,138 calls traded against only 937 puts with this call volume more than half the entire call trades of the month of December (when 19,000 calls changed hands). Friday's call activity was more than 12 times average, with the $10 Feb Calls' volume over 17 standard deviations above normal.
This isn't the first time sizable call volume (green above versus put volume - red) has been seen but it is the most extreme example of the kind of well-informed trading that we have discussed again and again with regard healthcare specifically.
The largest trade that stuck out was the purchase of 2,000 Feb 10 calls for $2.00. Based on the BMY takeover price, these calls are now worth $16 ($26 minus the $10 call strike). That means the well-informed (lucky) owner turned $200,000 into $3,200,000 over the weekend.
While some of the action could potentially be discounted as front-running the JPMorgan Healthcare conference next week, we leave it to you to judge the option volume for itself: either the deal was leaked or the buyer of these calls had exceptional timing and is now considerably richer.