Genzyme Board Rejects Sanofi Bid

Company said new offer provides 'no new information and no improvement in price, and therefore fails to establish a basis for engagement by the Genzyme board'

The board of directors at Genzyme has unanimously rejected an $18.5 billion takeover offer from French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis, Genzyme said on August 30.

A letter to Sanofi management, signed by Genzyme chief executive Henri Termeer, recalled that the board had turned down an earlier offer on August 11. The latest proposal, it said, "provides no new information and no improvement in price, and therefore fails to establish a basis for engagement by the Genzyme board."

It added that the board was "not prepared to engage in merger negotiations with Sanofi based upon an opportunistic proposal with an unrealistic starting price that dramatically undervalues our company."

Speaking during a telephone conference call, Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher said Genzyme's response was "not surprising."

In an interview appearing on August 30 in the French financial newspaper Les Echos, Viehbacher said he was in no hurry to pursue a bid to acquire Genzyme. "We want to show our determination and our seriousness, without appearing to be threatening right away," he said. "There is still lots of time."

A Sanofi spokesman stressed that for the moment this "is not a hostile offer ... but a proposal addressed to Genzyme's management."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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