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Theeey’re baaaaaaack

…well, to be honest, they never left.

They never left the news (they simply went into the background for a little while) and they never left the negotiating table (it just seemed like it).

I’m talking about Paris-based sanofi-aventis and Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme. The former has been trying to acquire the latter for months now. Genzyme says it’s worth too much to give in to a $69-per-share offer and sanofi points out that the biotech can’t hold out forever, particularly with no other suitors knocking at the door.

Truth is that they probably need each other. Genzyme probably needs to be part of something larger and sanofi-aventis certainly needs the pipeline and technology platforms that Genzyme can bring it in these challenging economic times.

So it’s probably with great relief to investors and to many market watchers that the companies announced at the beginning of this week that they are in negotiations about the acquisition. There is still a lot of ground to cover to get them on the same page…or in the same chapter, for that matter…but at least they’re talking.

Of course, they have been all the while. When the top execs haven’t been trading letters, the financial advisers for both companies have been talking. The difference now is that actual company representatives for both sides are now in on the talks.

More importantly, sanofi finally seems willing to budge on the price, and Genzyme seems willing to beat its chest a little less forcefully about how much it’s worth.

At least that’s how it looks…for now.

We’ll see how it all pans out, but like I said, a lot of people watching these companies are breathing easier as a possible deal seems to become more and more likely.

Frankly, I suspect the CEOs and boards of both companies are breathing easier too.


January 11, 2011 - Posted by | Corporate, Dealmakers, M&A activity

1 Comment »

  1. In other news related to the possible acquisition, it seems that the European Union, which has known about the merger plans since November 2010, won’t be a potential stumbling block

    The European Commission says it has approved sanofi-aventis’ proposed acquisition of Genzyme Corp., with those EU regulators saying they don’t see any anti-trust concerns because many viable competitors are active in the therapeutic areas that the two companies address.

    Comment by Jeffrey Bouley, ddn Managing Editor | January 13, 2011 | Reply

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