Longtime Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer has taken a public stand on Sanofi's low ball offer: "At $69 [a share, the current offer], the company is not for sale," he tells the Wall Street Journal. In fact, he expects the board to open up the process and seek a White Knight, or at least some new offer that would drive the price up high enough to whet Termeer's interest.
Termeer was countering Sanofi's "bear hug" letter, released on Sunday. As the pharma giant stopped short of going hostile, the response from Genzyme has been cool but measured. Genzyme's shares were driven down by a highly public manufacturing pratfall. But the big biotech has been trying hard to change the story line to get credit for a turnaround.
"This is not a fixer-upper, this is beachfront property,'' Termeer insisted to the Boston Globe, and virtually every other major media outlet he could reach on Monday.
So far, though, Sanofi has shown little actual interest in bidding against itself in an effort to sweep Genzyme's shareholders off their feet. This new response from Termeer isn't likely to quicken the pace either, unless he inspires some other big player out there to pick up the phone. In its glory days, Genzyme shares traded in the low 80s. But for all the back-and-forth in the business press, there's been little change in either of the two companies' positions since the story broke. And some analysts believe Termeer's time is running out.
"He's caught between a plant in Allston that is a disaster, Icahn in bed with him and Sanofi banging on the door," the University of Michigan's Erik Gordon tells Bloomberg. "If Sanofi doesn't fire him I think Icahn will."