Termeer says he's ready to go--when price and time are right
Longtime Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer is shaping the perfect retirement strategy for himself. Once the company's experimental MS drug Campath delivers confirmatory late-stage data in the middle of next year, Termeer tells the Financial Times, he could see easing himself out of the top job at the big biotech. And he wouldn't be at all upset if a buyer like Sanofi came in to engineer a buyout--provided the price is right.
"I'm not in any way offended [by the Sanofi-Aventis bid]," Termeer told the FT. "They have to recognize our value rather than be opportunistic." In Termeer's view, Genzyme has executed a turnaround following the manufacturing debacle that scuttled the company's share price. And that makes the biotech company worth a premium price-say $80 or more--that isn't reflected in Sanofi's $69 per share bid.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, is reporting that Sanofi is mulling a $1 to $2 increase in its bid in an effort to get Genzyme to the bargaining table. That's still far below the $75 figure Genzyme reportedly has in mind to get negotiations underway. But it's also getting up to a figure that could make some of Sanofi's biggest investors distinctly nervous.
Termeer isn't getting any outside help from a potential competing bid. The Genzyme CEO tells the FT that there's been no new offer dangled before the board, leaving Sanofi as the only other player in this slow-motion game of cat and mouse.
"This is a process, a dance," Termeer told the FT. "Chris (Viehbacher) has indicated he's in no hurry and I'm not in a hurry." Evidently neither is the board at Genzyme. Directors are paid more than $400,000 a year, making that a sweet position they're unlikely to want to walk away from.