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Sanofi, Genzyme Closer To $74-A-Share Deal

From Benzinga Lightning Feed (February 6, 2011)

French pharma giant Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) and Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ), the maker of treatments for genetic disorders, are reportedly close to ending takeover drama that has spanned more than six months as the boards of the two companies are close to agreeing to $74 a share takeover price. The deal would also include the potential additional payments tied to the performance of a Genzyme drug, Bloomberg News reported, citing four people with knowledge of the matter.

A so-called contingent value right, a tradeable contract tied to Genzyme's experimental multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada, may be valued at about $3 when it begins trading and have a higher nominal value, Bloomberg reported, citing three of the people.

Sanofi-Aventis has been trying to acquire Genzyme since August when it announced a $69 a share offer, valuing Genzyme at $18.5 billion. Genzyme immediately rejected the offer as inadequate and Sanofi-Aventis went straight to Genzyme investors in October, in effect turning the offer hostile. Genzyme continued to rebuff the offer as too low. Analysts had routinely said Genzyme investors would be looking for an offer north of $75 a share.

Genzyme makes for an attractive acquisition target because the company makes treatments for rare genetic disorders that are difficult to copy, meaning the company has a certain amount of insulation from generic competition. Genzyme's top-selling medicine, which garnered $722 million in sales in 2010, is Cerezyme, a mass-produced version of a human enzyme missing in patients with the inherited illness Gaucher disease, Bloomberg reported.

Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are advising Genzyme.

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Posted: February 2011