March 11, 2019 / 10:15 PM / a year ago

Third Point holds Celgene stock, in bet Bristol-Myers deal will close -source

March 11 (Reuters) - Daniel Loeb's hedge fund Third Point LLC owns a small stake in Celgene Corp, betting that the proposed $74 billion sale of the biotechnology company to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will be completed, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Third Point's previously undisclosed position illustrates how some prominent hedge funds are placing opposing bets on what would be the biggest-ever pharmaceutical acquisition.

Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, which holds a small stake in Bristol-Myers, is urging its shareholders to vote down the Celgene deal.

Third Point's trading position in Celgene is passive and the hedge fund has no plans to publicly agitate, the source said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Third Point declined to comment.

The size of Third Point's stake in Celgene and when it was amassed could not be learned.

Wellington Management, one of Bristol-Myers' top shareholders with a nearly 8 percent stake, cast uncertainty over the Celgene deal last month, saying it was too risky and expensive.

Bristol-Myers has defended the proposed acquisition, arguing earlier this month that it was getting Celgene at a great price and saying that it had carried out a "robust" assessment of the merger.

Bristol-Myers shareholders will vote on the Celgene deal on April 12. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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