Sanofi-Aventis launches Genzyme takeover battle

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By GREG KELLER
The Associated Press
Monday, October 4, 2010; 2:21 AM

PARIS -- Sanofi-Aventis launched a hostile takeover battle Monday for Genzyme Corp. aimed at capturing the U.S. biotech company's promising drugs for high cholesterol and lucrative treatments for rare genetic disorders.

Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis' $69 per share offer values the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company at $18.5 billion, unchanged from a friendly offer Sanofi-Aventis made privately to Genzyme management in July and publicly disclosed in August.

Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher said he decided to go straight to shareholders with the offer because Genzyme management "refused to engage in constructive discussions" despite several attempts by Sanofi-Aventis.

The offer to Genzyme shareholders opens Monday and runs until Dec. 10. Viehbacher said he has met with shareholders holding more than 50 percent of Genzyme's capital and that he is "confident the offer will be successful."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

PARIS (AP) - Sanofi-Aventis says it is launching a hostile $69 per share takeover battle for US biotech company Genzyme Corp.

The French drug maker's offer values the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company at $18.5 billion, unchanged from a friendly offer Sanofi-Aventis made in July.

In a statement Monday, Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher said it decided to go straight to shareholders with its offer because of Genzyme management's refusal "to engage in constructive discussions" despite several attempts by Sanofi-Aventis.


© 2010 The Associated Press

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