What will Viehbacher bring to Sanofi?

Does Chris Viehbacher's (photo) advent as CEO of Sanofi-Aventis signal that buyout deals may soon be in the works? Analysts say yes. For instance, the idea of a merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb, often mentioned as a possible target for Sanofi, has again raised its head, this time in an investor note from UBS analyst Gbola Amusa. Such a deal "may be more likely now," the Wall Street Journal quotes Amusa as saying. Bristol-Myers declined comment.

Analysts also expect Viehbacher to cut costs as his colleagues at other Big Pharma firms have done. Sanofi has instituted some layoffs already, but investors appear to be lobbying for the company to shutter some production facilities and cut more jobs. "They have quite a high cost base when you compare them to the pharmaceutical average," one analyst told the WSJ.

Whatever Viehbacher does, his stepping into the CEO role is a sea change for the French firm, which has been run by a cadre of mostly French executives. So some changes are inevitable.

- read the WSJ story