French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis launched a hostile bid for Genzyme at $69 per share, or $18.5bn (£11.7bn), setting off what could be a protracted battle for control of the US biotech.
The move comes a month after Genzyme rebuffed an approach from Sanofi-Aventis at the same price. Sanofi has been in discussions with Genzyme shareholders and stated repeatedly that it would go no higher.
Sanofi said in a statement on Monday that its offer, which is all in cash, would expire on the afternoon of 11 December.
"While Sanofi-Aventis' strong preference is to engage in constructive discussions with Genzyme, Genzyme's board and management team's continued refusal to do so has led Sanofi-Aventis to commence the tender offer," said Sanofi.
Sanofi said its CEO Chris Viehbacher met with the CEO of Genzyme Henri Termeer on September 20, but the talks "proved unproductive."
Sanofi added that it had met with Genzyme shareholders who collectively own more than 50 per cent of the biotech, and that these people were frustrated with Genzyme's reticence to engage in real talks with Sanofi.
In a letter dated 4 October that Viehbacher wrote to Temeer, he criticised Termeer's unwillingness to provide information about Genzyme's ongoing manafacturing issues and a promising new indication for a drug. Both questions are central to the valuation of the biotech firm's fortunes.
City A.M. Reporter