Genzyme boss set for $300m share payout

Elizabeth Fournier
GENZYME chairman and chief executive Henri Termeer stands to pocket around $300m (£186m) if Sanofi Aventis’ $19.4bn cash bid gets the green light, as looked increasingly likely last night.

If priced at $74-per-share, the takeover deal would mean that the Genzyme board’s combined stake in the company would be worth more than $1.4bn, with the biggest potential payouts going to Termeer, who holds 4.1m shares, and independent director Ralph Whitworth, with 10.6m.

Termeer, who joined Genzyme in 1983 and became chairman in 1988, indicated last year that a successful takeover could provide the perfect opportunity for him to step down at the age of 65, though speculation remains over whether he could take an active role in the new management or remain on the board as a director.

His tenure was recently criticised by Genzyme founder Sheridan Snyder, who indicated that a change at the top was necessary to drive the company forwards.

Termeer, who was paid $11.5m in 2010, is also likely to get a significant pay-off if Sanofi Aventis decides he should step down.

If he retained a stake in the absorbed company, Termeer could still benefit from the tradable contingent value right – a delayed payout linked to the performance of Genzyme’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug, Lemtrada.

● Feb-May 2010
Sanofi reviews its strategic options, including an acquisition of Genzyme.

● 23 May 2010
Genzyme chief executive Henri Termeer said he was open to discussing a transaction, but asked to wait until after the company’s shareholder meeting in June as he tried to fend off a proxy battle with key shareholder Carl Icahn.

● 9 June 2010
Genzyme announces settlement with Icahn and appoints two directors designated by the financier.

● 2 July 2010
Media reports say Sanofi mulls large US biotech acquisition.

● 28 July 2010
Sanofi’s board revisits a proposed transaction with Genzyme through a letter outlining the terms of an acquisition.

● 29 August 2010
Sanofi publicises its letter to Termeer offering $69 per share for Genzyme. Genzyme publicly rejects the bid.

● 4 October 2010
Sanofi-Aventis made a hostile $18.5bn bid for Genzyme after failing to enter into friendly negotiations.

● 13 January 2011
The European Commission grants merger approval to the proposed takeover.