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Genzyme in talks to foil sanofi-aventis bid

Genzyme has been courting several companies as possible alternatives to the proposed $18.5bn takeover by sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis' (S-A) takeover target Genzyme has entered talks with several large pharma companies to scout a higher price than the French company's hostile $18.5bn ($69 per share) bid, according to knowledgeable sources quoted in British newspaper The Mail on Sunday.

Takeda, which is actively looking to expand in the US, was initially mentioned in connection with an $82 per share bid. However, the Wall Street Journal has reported that this is now unlikely to happen.  

Takeda and Genzyme have not commented on the reports. 

Informal takeover talks between Genzyme and S-A began in July, with S-A making a non-binding proposal of $18.5bn at the end of August. After Genzyme called the bid 'insufficient', the takeover attempt got hostile in early October, when S-A took its $69-per-share bid directly to Genzyme's shareholders. Earlier this month, S-A sent Genzyme a letter requesting that the biotech not take 'defensive measures' to derail the takeover. 

Other companies now reported to be in talks with Genzyme include GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. 

Genzyme has stated that it believes it will be able to obtain a price of $89 per share.

15th November 2010

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