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Sanofi goes public on $18.5bn bid for “unwilling” Genzyme

Sanofi Aventis has gone public with its $18.5bn (€14.5bn) takeover bid for US biotech Genzyme, putting more pressure on firm’s “unwilling” board

In a letter published on the French drugmaker’s website, CEO Chris Viebacher said Sanofi decided to address Genzyme shareholders directly after the Massachusetts firm repeatedly rejected the takeover offer it made on July 29.

The announcement follows months of speculation about a bid and weeks of rumours that talks had stalled after a disagreement on price. In fact, according to Viebacher’s letter, the only meeting between the firms’ saw Genzyme reiterate its rejection.

He said that Sanofi wants to buy Genzyme to provide it with a "centre of excellence" in the Boston area to work with its existing regional vaccine and oncology research units, stressing his firm's commitment to making the acquisition happen.

So, while Viebacher told Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer and a number of media organisations that Sanofi’s preference is to “work with” Genzyme on a “mutually agreeable transaction,” a hostile battle seems more likely unless the US firm radically changes its position.

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