Sanofi gets ready to bid for Genzyme

Marion Dakers
DRUGMAKER Sanofi-Aventis is ready to announce its $19.2bn-plus (£12.4bn) takeover bid for US biotech firm Genzyme, sources with knowledge of the talks said yesterday, bringing nine months of wrangling to a close.

The two companies have agreed in principle to the improved offer, which could be announced to the markets as early as this morning.

The bid is said to include $74 per share in cash plus a contingent value right (CVR) that will vary depending on the results of Genzyme’s experimental drug Lemtrada.

Sanofi has included the CVR element to help resolve a long-running argument with Genzyme over the potential value of its new multiple sclerosis drug, which the French firm said could be worth $3.5bn a year.

Sanofi’s previous offer of $69 a share, first put forward in July, expired yesterday after several extensions.

The deal would be the second-biggest in biotech history and gives Sanofi a foothold in the growing market to treat rare diseases.

It will also help Sanofi compensate for declining revenue from drugs that have lost, or are set to lose, patent protection.

The EU gave the green light to a takeover in January, saying the hostile takeover would not reduce competition in Europe.

Officials at Sanofi were not immediately available for comment, while a spokesman for Massachusetts-based Genzyme said he could not confirm that an agreement had been reached last night.

Sanofi sought advice during negotiations from JP Morgan, Evercore Partners and Morgan Stanley, with Genzyme turning to Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.