Sanofi hints at higher Genzyme bid as GSK remains on the sidelines

The ongoing negotiation-by-leak between Sanofi-Aventis and Genzyme picked up speed over the long weekend. A source on the bidding team indicated to Dow Jones that Sanofi is willing to modestly hike its $69 offer--if it gets Genzyme to the bargaining table. GlaxoSmithKline R&D chief Moncef Slaoui, meanwhile, told a French newspaper that the big U.K. pharma company won't be suiting up to play the role of White Knight.

While every little move in the Sanofi-Genzyme drama is given big play in the business press, there's been little if anything that's actually new taking place. Sanofi's board has already indicated that they would step up its $18.5 billion bid if Genzyme is ready to dicker. Genzyme's board--and particularly CEO Henri Termeer (photo)--has dug in deep around its position that $69 per share is simply too small an offer to seriously consider. So the two sides remain far apart.

Without another serious bidder to fire up the discussions, these leaks could go on for some time. And you can rule out GSK, according to one of its top execs, who doesn't see much value in paying an even bigger premium for the big biotech.

"An offer by GlaxoSmithKline for Genzyme does not make sense. It is too expensive," Moncef Slaoui told Les Echos.  

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- here's the Reuters report