Sanofi-Aventis goes hostile with $18.5-bn Genzyme bid

Refusing to hike its offer French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis today went hostile with its $18.5-billion takeover bid for the world's third-largest biotech firm, Genzyme Corporation.

Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis, on 29 July, went public with its $69 per share in cash takeover offer, representing a 38-per cent premium over Genzyme's share price of $49.86 on 1 July 2010, valuing the Massachusetts-based biotech firm at $18.5-billion. (See: Sanofi-Aventis reveals $18.5-billion offer for Genzyme)

The board of Genzyme had rejected Sanofi's offer as being too low and refused to enter into talks despite several attempts made by Sanofi, the world's fourth-largest pharmaceutical company by prescription sales.

The Genzyme board had said that it is not prepared to engage in merger negotiations with Sanofi based upon an opportunistic proposal with an unrealistic starting price that dramatically undervalues the company.

In a letter written today by Sanofi CEO Christopher Viehbacher to Genzyme's chairman, president and CEO Henri Termeer, Viehbacher said: ''After several months of our repeated requests for a meeting with you, we finally met on 20 September. Unfortunately this meeting was not productive. In an effort to advance our discussions, I shared a very narrow information request focused on confirming your anticipated manufacturing recovery……….I proposed a meeting with your commercial team to understand their perspective on the role alumtuzumab could play in the evolving of the multiple sclerosis market.''

''You were unwilling to pursue either of these or any other or any other path forward. You were also unwilling to provide us with your perspective on a appropriate valuation of Genzyme.''