PARIS, France (April 26, 2004) – French pharmaceutical maker Aventis has accepted a revised offer from French rival Sanofi-Synthelabo, putting to rest a late effort last week by Swiss drug maker Novartis to enter the merger talks with Aventis.
The buyout by Sanofi is estimated to be worth more than $64 billion, about 14-percent higher than Sanofi’s previous offer, according to published reports out of Europe. Analysts said the Sanofi-Aventis deal would create the third largest drug maker in the world, behind U.S.- based Pfizer and U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline.
Novartis had said last week that it accepted an offer to enter merger talks but the move met with resistance by the French government, which reportedly favored a linking of the two national pharmaceutical companies. Aventis, looking last week to fend off Sanofi’s efforts, reportedly solicited Novartis as a “white night.”
If Novartis had won the battle for Aventis, analysts said that Sanofi itself may have become a takeover target in the next year.
The combined Sanofi-Aventis company will be headed by Jean-Francois Dehecq, current chief executive officer of Sanofi, according to reports.
Sanofi’s products include Plavix, an anti-stroke medication, and Ambien, which is widely used to treat sleep disorders. Key drugs from Aventis include Allegra, used to treat allergies, and Lovenox, an anti-blood clotting medication.