Money Matters - Simplified

Offer for Genzyme gets hostile

Paris -- French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis said it would pursue biotechnology firm Genzyme even though discussions at the board level had ended.

Genzyme Chief Executive Officer Henri Termeer said the Sanofi-Aventis bid of $69 per share, an $18.5 billion offer "dramatically undervalues" the company, although the bid was a 31 percent premium over Genzyme's average stock price from June 22 through July 22.

The later date was the day before rumors of a potential deal were made public. Once word gets out of a possible deal, stock values can be influenced, which is which is why prices are often set at pre-rumor values.

In a letter sent to Termeer Monday, Sanofi-Aventis CEO Christopher Viehbacher said, "It was clear (shareholders) are supportive of our initiative and, like us, are frustrated with your refusal to have meaningful discussions with us," The New York Times reported Monday.

Sanofi-Aventis has established a tender offer for shares that expires Dec. 10. The terms are the same as its previous offer, the Times said.

"Without exception, each member of the Genzyme board believes this is not the right time to sell the company because your opportunistic takeover proposal does not begin to recognize the significant progress under way," Genzyme said in August, referring to contamination issues last year that halted production of two of its drugs, Cerezyme, a treatment for Gaucher's disease, and Fabrazyme, a treatment for Fabry's disease.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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