Sanofi shareholders caution on Genzyme bid

The Sanofi-Aventis-Genzyme saga continues this morning. Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) shareholders have supposedly told head Chris Viehbacher (photo) to avoid paying much more than about $70 per share, or $19 billion, for the U.S.-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ). And two shareholders tell Reuters they would not be happy with the drugmaker paying much over $70 a share, or around $18.7 billion. A Sanofi spokesman declined to comment.

The two companies formally discussed the proposed deal Monday, but, as the Boston Globe notes, remain far apart in price. Sanofi reportedly has sent a private letter to Genzyme, detailing its offer of $69 per share, or $18.4 billion, according to the Boston Business Journal and other sources.

Genzyme has endured a rough patch over the past year, including manufacturing snafus and a battle with investor Carl Icahn (photo), with whom the big biotech recently settled a proxy fight. But the company does offer an attractive target. "Genzyme's on a pretty short list of companies that are global, have biotechnology expertise and have strong growth potential in the next three or four years," says Joshua Schimmer at Leerink Swann, as quoted by the Boston Globe.

Other large drugmakers, including GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have all been mentioned as potential interlopers, Reuters notes, but adds that no one really expects a company to ride in and swoop up Genzyme at this time.

- get more from Reuters
see the Boston Globe's coverage
- read the Boston Business Journal report