Akorn Options Volume Explodes After Fresenius Court Ruling

The ruling validated Fresenius' terminated bid for Akorn

Dec 7, 2018 at 1:13 PM
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The shares of Akorn, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX) have plunged 19.4% to trade at $4.51, earlier bottoming at an eight-year low of $3.54. The stock is reacting to a Delaware court ruling, which upheld an October judgement that found Germany-based Fresenius (FMS) legally ended its $4 billion bid for Akron back in April.

Against this backdrop, AKRX options volume is running at a faster-than-usual clip today, with roughly 6,350 calls and 2,800 puts on the tape -- four times what's typically seen at this point. The March 7.50 call is most active, where it looks like speculators may be liquidating their positions. Elsewhere, traders are potentially purchasing new positions at the January 2019 10-strike call, betting on a quick bounce into double-digit territory.

The 10 strike has been popular among options bulls, with the March 10 call home to AKRX's top open interest position, and data from Trade-Alert indicating at least some of the 13,016 contracts have been bought to open. Among front-month strikes, the deep out-of-the-money December 25 call is the most heavily populated, with 12,669 contracts outstanding. 

Outside of the options pits, short sellers have been cashing out on the devastated drug stock. Short interest has plunged 73% since hitting a record high 26.63 million shares last December. The 7.3 million AKRX shares still dedicated to these bearish bets account for 7.8% of the equity's available float, or about 2.2 times the average daily pace of trading. Today, the equity is on the short-sale restricted list.

What's notable is AKRX's inability to capitalize on this steady stream of buying power, with the shares down 86% year-to-date. Today's downside gap puts the security on track for a seventh straight daily loss, and in the red 34.3% on the week.

akrx stock daily chart dec 7


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