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Sanofi-Aventis: Not A Cent More

Sanofi-Aventis: Not A Cent More [Boston Herald]

From Boston Herald (MA) (October 29, 2010)

Oct. 29--The ball is still in Sanofi-Aventis’ court to make a new bid offer to buy Cambridge-based Genzyme Corp., analysts said yesterday.

The French drug giant’s CEO indicated yesterday that he saw no reason why his company should increase its original $69-per-share offer to take over Genzyme.

Chris Viehbacher, Sanofi’s CEO, rejected Genzyme’s recent claim that it’s worth billions of dollars more than Sanofi’s original $18.5 billion offer.

"The bottom line is, we didn’t hear anything of substance that would cause us to change our $69-per-share offer," Viehbacher said.

But analysts said Sanofi, despite its CEO’s tough stand, will eventually either have to put up or shut up if it really wants to win over CEO Henri Termeer and purchase Genzyme.

As long as Genzyme’s shareholders hold firm and the company doesn’t encounter another supply disruption for one of its drugs, Genzyme is in a strong bargaining position, said Michael Yee, a technology analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

"Sanofi will have to make the next move, in my opinion," said Yee. "They’re the ones proposing (to buy Genzyme) and it’s going to require extra."

Yee said the drawn-out takeover drama between Sanofi and Genzyme is consistent with other biotech deals that have gotten bogged down in protracted fights over sale prices.

Steve Silver, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s, said he didn’t think Viehbacher’s hard-line stand yesterday can hold if he’s serious about acquiring Genzyme.

"The stalemate is over when Sanofi walks away or submits a higher bid," said Silver.

For its part, Genzyme officials yesterday defended what Viehbacher called "rosy forecasts" about Genzyme’s revenue growth.

Genzyme also rejected Sanofi’s proposal that a "working group" be established to discuss whether Genzyme’s key drugs really have bright financial futures.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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Posted: October 2010