US accepts pending merger of Sanofi and Aventis

29th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, July 28 (AFP) - US regulatory authorities Wednesday conditionally agreed to accept the pending merger of French-German pharmaceutical group Aventis and its smaller French rival Sanofi-Synthelabo into the world's third-largest pharmaceutical group.

WASHINGTON, July 28 (AFP) - US regulatory authorities Wednesday conditionally agreed to accept the pending merger of French-German pharmaceutical group Aventis and its smaller French rival Sanofi-Synthelabo into the world's third-largest pharmaceutical group.

The Federal Trade Commission agreed to the merger on the condition that the two companies give up key drug patents to rivals GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

The companies agreed to the conditions, the commission said.

The two companies agreed to sell rights to Sanofi's Arixtra factor Xa inhibitor and related assets to GlaxoSmithKline, divest to Pfizer key clinical studies for Aventis's Campto colorectal cancer treatment and sell the rights to the insomnia drug Estorra to an approved buyer.

"In a merger of this size and complexity, there are likely to be significant overlaps that must be addressed to ensure that consumers are protected from potentially anticompetitive effects," said Susan A. Creighton, director of the FTCs bureau of competition.

"This order adequately addresses each of the areas of concern identified by the commission, and will preserve competition in the markets for these important pharmaceutical products," she added.

Sanofi's controversial offer, worth EUR 55 billion (USD 66 million), closes Friday. The outcome is to be published August 12.

If Sanofi manages to obtain more than two thirds of Aventis capital, it could re-open the offer for 15 days in hopes of winning a 95 percent stake and ultimately taking full control.

The bid - unveiled January 26 - was heavily backed by the French government, a position authorities vigorously defended on grounds of national interest in the face of undisguised irritation in Germany.

Another disgruntled party was the Swiss drugs manufacturer Novartis, which dropped out of the bidding for Aventis after hinting strongly it had been turned away by the attitude of the French government.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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