Genzyme shareholder sues to stop Sanofi acquisition

Even though no formal deal has been made yet, a Genzyme shareholder is launching a preemptive strike to block the biotech's potential acquisition by Sanofi-Aventis, the Boston Globe reports.

While it's not unusual for a shareholder to file a suit to prevent a merger, this case is different in that the companies haven't disclosed an offer or even acknowledged they are talking about one, the Globe reports. Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, Sanofi's pursuit of Genzyme "is more likely to be a drawn out engagement rather than a shotgun wedding," and there could be other potential buyers.

The suit was filed in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn by Alan Kahn alleged on behalf of himself and other investors that directors of the Cambridge biotechnology company would be breaching their fiduciary duty by selling the company to Sanofi. "Based on a preliminary valuation using publicly available information, the consideration offered in the proposed transaction is inadequate,'' Kahn's complaint says, as quoted by the Globe.

Both lawyers for Kahn and spokespeople for Sanofi and Genzyme declined to comment on the case.

- see the Boston Globe report
- read the WSJ's coverage