Sanofi-Aventis extends Genzyme offer, terms unchanged

France's biggest drug maker, Sanofi-Aventis, today said that it has extended its buyout offer for the world's third-largest biotech firm Genzyme Corp by over a month after less than 1 per cent of Genzyme shareholders tendered their shares in Sanofi's $18.5-billion bid.

The extension has been made by the Paris-based company without changing the terms, leaving analysts wondering the rationale behind the Sanofi-Aventis strategy of trying to attract more Genzyme shareholders without raising its $69 per share offer.

Sanofi-Aventis' offer, which expired on 10 December 2010, is now extended to 21 January 2011.

After failing to elicit a positive response from Genzyme to hold talks on a possible merger, Sanofi-Aventis went public with its $18.5-billion all-cash offer in late August. (See: Sanofi-Aventis reveals $18.5-billion offer for Genzyme

The offer was $69 per share in cash, representing a 38-per cent premium over Genzyme's share price of $49.86 on 1 July 2010.

The proposal was immediately rejected by the board of Genzyme on the grounds that the opportunistic takeover offer did not reflect the true worth of the company. (See: Genzyme board rejects Sanofi-Aventis $18.5-billion takeover offer)