Genzyme investors hold out for higher Sanofi bid

Yesterday, we wondered just how Genzyme shareholders would respond to Sanofi-Aventis' now-public buyout offer. Today, thanks to Reuters and some analysts, we know. That is, we know what a dozen or so key investors are saying: No dice on that $69 per share, $18.5 billion bid.

Reuters and Cowan & Co. analysts heard over and over from Genzyme investors that about $75 per share was the absolute minimum they'd entertain. One shareholder--Michael Obuchowski of First Empire Asset Management--even said that if Sanofi goes hostile with its bid, he won't take much less than $80. Investors who followed activist shareholder Carl Icahn (photo) into investing in Genzyme probably would take less than other, longer-term shareholders, but they'll hold out for at least $5 more per share than the $69 offer, the news service reports.

Meanwhile, some analysts are predicting that Sanofi will offer as much as $77 (Citigroup) or $78 (Morningstar). Unlike many pharma-watchers, Morningstar even thinks that a second bidder might actually materialize; for instance, Amgen, which has plenty of cash on hand. And as BNet Pharma points out, Sanofi chief Chris Viehbacher (photo) did say, just before the Genzyme bid hit the news, that he'd pay up to $20 billion for the right company.

But now, Viehbacher continues to talk about pricing "discipline" and predict that no other bidders, particularly none other with $18.5 billion in ready cash, would emerge.

It is unclear whether the all of the media commentary will sway investors or Genzyme's management. At this point, the question remaining is whether Genzyme will open the doors to negotiation. How the deal unfolds depends upon that.

- see the Reuters story
- read the article from Bloomberg
- get the Morningstar analysis
- check out BNet's take
- find the Wall Street Journal story