Amgen Inc. amended its shareholder rights agreement for greaterprotection against unwanted takeovers, but said the move was not aresponse to any acquisition effort.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., company was the target of Wall Streetrumors earlier this month of a takeover by Bristol-Myers Squibb.The New York pharmaceutical giant denied the speculation Feb. 9,ending a week-long climb in Amgen's stock of more than 14 percentand sending it down 6 percent in one day.

In strengthening its shareholder rights plan, Amgen's "poison pill"strategy will "flip-in" if an effort is made to purchase 10 percent ofthe company's stock. The previous trigger point was 15 percent.Amgen said no stockholder now owns more than 5 percent.

Another feature of the amended plan prevents the board of directorsfrom redeeming the rights once they become exercisable.

The rights protection strategy allows current stockholders topurchase Amgen shares at half their price, diluting the number ofshares and greatly increasing the cost of a hostile takeover.

Amgen's stock (NASDAQ:AMGN) closed Wednesday at $65.37,down 62 cents. _ Charles Craig

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