PPF ends opposition to Zentiva sale; Sanofi takeover likely

The decks have been cleared for the takeover of Czech generic drug maker Zentiva NV by Sanofi-Aventis SA after the company's second-largest shareholder, the PPF Group, withdrew its opposition to the 1.8 billion euro deal.

Czech financial company PPF Group NV and Generali PPF Holding BV, the Eastern European joint venture of PPF Group and Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali SpA, together hold a 24.3 per cent stake in Zentiva, and had earlier bid CZK 950 per share for Zentiva, which was turned down by Zentiva's management.

After an extraordinary general meeting held by Zenvita, the PPF Group withdrew its petition to the district court in Amsterdam opposing the sale to Sanofi. It said that its questions about commitments made by Zentiva regarding the offer had been answered at Monday's EGM.

The Zentiva board reiterated their support for Sanofi's CZK 1150 per share takeover offer at an EGM. The offer from Sanofi, the largest shareholder in Zentiva with a 24.9 per cent stake, is open until 20 February. The European Commission cleared the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi's move earlier, provided Sanofi-Aventis sell 15 drugs in central and Eastern Europe.

PPF had earlier launched an attempt to replace the management of Zentiva.