On The Block

Grey Wolf Inc. (AMEX:GW) is on the prowl for strategic alternatives and has hired UBS Investment Bank as its financial adviser. The Houston-based oil and gas driller plans tol consider remaining independent, acquisitions, mergers, the sale of the entire company, strategic alliances, joint ventures and financial alternatives. Its shareholders recently rejected its proposed merger with Basic Energy Services Inc (NYSE:BAS), and the company expects to take a pretax charge of about $17 million, or 5 cents a share, in the third quarter related to the termination. In the meantime, Precision Drilling Trust, which has pursued Grey Wolf in the past, plans to re-approach Grey Wolf’s board with a $10 a share acquisition proposal.

In a bid to pump up its business, Vermillion Inc. (Nasdaq: VRML) has hired investment bank ThinkPanmure LLC to help identify and evaluate strategic alternatives. During the review, the Fremont, Calif.-based molecular diagnostics company will continue to build marketplace awareness for its women’s health, oncology, and cardiac programs that include the OVA1 ovarian tumor test and the VASCLIR peripheral artery disease test. For the first quarter, Vermillion’s losses narrowed to $4.8 million from $6 million a year earlier as total operating expenses decreased because of personnel restructuring and a decline in general and administrative costs.

Despite improved financial results for the latest quarter, Richmond,Va.-based Insmed Inc. (Nasdaq: INSM) has hired RBC Capital Markets as financial adviser to help with a review of its strategic options. The biopharmaceutical company’s businesses include cell line development, product characterization, manufacturing, and clinical development of follow-on biologics. For the first quarter, Insmed’s losses narrowed to $4.9 million from $10.3 million a year earlier. The improvement reflects a reduction of almost $5 million in total expenses, plus revenue growth of more than $657,000.

Century Mining Corp. has started a strategic review. The move is a response to recent difficulties encountered when it tried to secure financing, along with equity market conditions and the mid-tier gold producer’s unsatisfying valuation. The Blaine, Wash.-based company, which has gold projects in Canada and Peru, will seek to discover its best option with help from financial adviser Blair Franklin Capital Partners Inc. Options include the sale of the entire company or its assets, plus a recapitalization. For the first quarter, Century Mining swung to a loss of $1.8 million from net income of $2 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped to $3.2 million from $13.2 million.