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S-A extends Genzyme offer deadline

Sanofi-aventis has pushed back the deadline for Genzyme's shareholders to tender their stock from December 10 to January 21

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) has pushed back the deadline for Genzyme's shareholders to tender their stock from December 10 to January 21.

S-A took its offer directly to Genzyme's shareholders in October, saying that the company's board had refused to take part in serious discussions.

Genzyme's management took the news of the extended deadline as evidence that they have been correct in asserting that S-A's offer is too low. "The results of the tender offer reported today demonstrate that our shareholders strongly support the view of the board that the sanofi offer substantially undervalues Genzyme," company CEO Henri Termeer said in a statement. "We continue to have the support of our shareholders (and) are open to a transaction that appropriately recognises Genzyme's intrinsic value and prospects."

S-A's bid for the biotech company turned hostile in April after talks between the companies fell apart. The $69 per share bid is a 31 per cent premium over Genzyme's one-month average up until the day before rumors of the takeover surfaced.
Analysts have predicted that a successful takeover of Genzyme will cost S-A as much as $77 per share.

The takeover would allow S-A to diversify its portfolio and provide it with access to Genzyme's drugs for rare diseases, which are less vulnerable than its own to generic competition. If successful, this will be the largest hostile takeover since Roche Holdings acquired Genentech for $47bn in 2008.

13th December 2010

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