Genzyme board rejects Sanofi-Aventis $18.5-billion takeover offer

The US-based biotech company, Genzyme Corporation, which has become a takeover target by Sanofi-Aventis, has rejected the French drug maker's $18.5-billion all-cash offer, citing that the opportunistic takeover proposal does not reflect the true worth of the company.

In a letter written yesterday by Henri Termeer, the chairman and CEO of Genzyme to Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, Termeer says that there is no reason for Genzyme to engage in discussions with Sanofi.

He said that the Genzyme board, which includes representatives of some of its major shareholders, ''Believes this is not the right time to sell the company, because your opportunistic takeover proposal does not begin to recognise the significant progress underway to rectify our manufacturing challenges or the potential for our new-product pipeline.''

Last month, Sanofi-Aventis made an informal acquisition approach to Genzyme, (See: Sanofi-Aventis targets troubled Genzyme Corp for takeover) and subsequently, submitted a non-binding offer on 29 July 2010, which was rejected by Genzyme.

Yesterday, Sanofi went public with its $18.5-billion all-cash offer in a bid to force Genzyme to the negotiating table and even offered to raise the bid if the board of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Genzyme is open for talks.

After being rejected again, the Paris-based Sanofi said that it was not prepared to go to any length to buy Genzyme, especially when there were no rival bidders.