French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis publicly launched its $18.5 billion cash bid for American biotech firm Genzyme Corp. today, the Associated Press reports.
It's a move that follows months of rumored interest and failed attempts to bring Genzyme's management to the table.
Under terms of the proposed acquisition, Genzyme shareholders would receive $69 per share, representing a 38 percent premium over Genzyme's closing stock price of $49.86 on July 1. That's the day before speculation began to swirl that Sanofi was looking to buy an American drugmaker, possibly Genzyme, in a bid to help replace revenue being lost to worsening generic competition.
Sanofi-Aventis is taking the bid public after what it calls “several unsuccessful attempts” to engage Genzyme's management in talks. While it prefers to work with the board instead of taking the offer directly to shareholders, CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher said on a conference call this morning that “we are also prepared to consider all alternatives to complete this transaction.”