Sanofi-Aventis warns Genyzme against taking 'poison pill'

8th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis Monday warned the management of Genzyme against taking threatened measures to block its 18.5-billion-dollar hostile takeover offer for the US biotechnology group.

"We believe it would be inappropriate for the (Genzyme) Board to take these defensive actions," Sanofi chief executive Christopher Viehbacher wrote in a letter to the managers of the US biotech firm and rare disease specialist.

In a recent regulatory filing Genzyme's board of directors indicated it could take "poison pill" measures to block a takeover even if shareholders support a buyout, according to Sanofi.

It also threatened to wield anti-takeover statutes in the US state of Massachusetts and stagger the terms of board members.

"If we are unable to have a direct dialog with you, in all fairness you should allow your shareholders the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not to accept our proposal," Viehbacher wrote in the letter.

Sanofi-Aventis launched in October its hostile bid for Genzyme, after the company's managers spurned it in August.

Genzyme chief executive Henri Termeer last month estimated the company's value at 89 dollars a share, or a total of some 22.7 billion dollars.

That was 18 percent more than Sanofi's offer of 69 dollars a share, or 18.5 billion dollars (13.3 billion euros).

Sanofi reiterated it is interested in working with Genzyme on a constructive basis to reach a mutually agreeable transaction.

Industry analysts said that acquiring Genzyme would be a major step for Sanofi in a drive by big pharmaceutical groups to expand activities in biotechnology and treatments of rare diseases.

The French pharmaceutical company says the acquisition will allow Genzyme to increase investment into its products that address rare diseases, kidney disease, orthopedics, cancer, transplant and immune diseases, and diagnostic testing.

© 2010 AFP

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