Sanofi insiders: Proxy fight could seal the Genzyme deal

With Genzyme's board dug in deep and unwilling to heed the siren call of an $18.5 billion buyout bid from Sanofi, some sources close to the European pharma company are telling Reuters that an eventual proxy fight for control of the board may turn out to be a strategic inevitability.

"If Sanofi keeps extending its tender offer again and again, then getting to a proxy battle isn't that far away or unrealistic," one of the wire service's insiders says. "It's definitely part of the playbook." 

Officially, of course, investors have been left with Sanofi's original $69-per-share offer for Genzyme, which the Boston biotech has rejected as unworthy of formal consideration. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, sources have been feeding a number of financial publications a steady diet of tidbits concerning the latest strategizing. Sanofi has been willing to sweeten its offer, but Genzyme is looking for a big advance before it will start negotiating. And both sides indicate that they are in no hurry, leaving the possibility of a proxy fight as a distinct possibility as time wears on.

One banker tells Reuters: "If Genzyme continues to refuse to negotiate, Sanofi can try to get its own slate elected and work towards a deal that way." 

- here's the Reuters story

ALSO: Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer (photo) may have a selfish reason for refusing Sanofi-Aventis' $69-per-share offer. Yes, Termeer would get a big buyout bonus--$11 million by some estimates--but that bonus plus his own stock-related gains wouldn't make up for the loss of future pay and the loss of upside on his stock options, the Wall Street Journal figures. Report