Sanofi offer a nail-biter for Genzyme employees

The potential marriage of Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) and Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) has gossips a-talking. While analysts debate about prices in the press, employees are whispering amongst themselves, some worried that a buyout could cost them their jobs.

Unnamed sources at Genzyme tell Reuters that employees there are not only concerned about the personal impact of a takeover, but also that the two companies' cultures might not mesh very well. "I imagine everyone is worried about losing their jobs at all levels, in all divisions, in all the back-office functions," once source tells the news service.

Meanwhile, at Sanofi, employees aren't as nervous--perhaps because they work for the buyer, rather than the potentially bought. Plus, they've seen Sanofi absorb other acquisitions recently. As Reuters notes, CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) has been trying to preserve the cultures of the companies Sanofi buys, figuring that will help employees be more creative and innovative. That's in contrast to previous executives, who worked to assimilate acquired companies.

Still, Viehbacher isn't called the Smiling Killer for nothing: He's been very straightforward about cutting jobs to save money and boost efficiency as the company works its way through a period of patent losses.  However, we can't count out other big drugmakers, as the Economist points out. Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline have all been mentioned as potential white knights, even though Genzyme is probably not a "perfect fit" for any of these companies. However, the Economist notes, given the "anemic" pipelines of big drugmakers these days, one of them still might try to court Genzyme.

- read the Reuters piece
- see the Economist's take