Sanofi raises big loan as it plots Genzyme buyout strategy

Sanofi-Aventis may not be able to get the time of day from Genzyme's board, but the pharma giant says its hostile takeover attempt faces no antitrust concerns in the U.S. Sanofi says that regulators have given the company a green light to proceed with its $18.5 billion buyout bid. That's not likely going to carry much weight at Genzyme, though, where CEO Henri Termeer and the board are bunkering down and urging shareholders to resist what they believe is a lowball bid.

Sanofi, though, is methodically going about the business of doing a deal, even if it can't quite get to the bargaining table yet. Quoting sources, the Financial Times reports that the pharma company had no trouble at all arranging a $15 billion loan syndication in a matter of hours. And that gives Sanofi plenty of cash to change the deal terms at any point it likes. The FT Also makes clear that Sanofi is now focused on winning over a few of Genzyme's biggest investors. As long as Termeer holds the key to the castle, those investors offer the best short-term prospect of coming to terms.

Genzyme, meanwhile, reported surging third quarter revenue today, and that may be just what Sanofi needs to complete a buyout. In an analysis of the deal drama, Reuters concludes that Sanofi will have to raise its bid to about $75 if it expects investors to start tendering their shares. A brighter fiscal outlook for Genzyme would give Sanofi's top execs the ammunition they need to make their case for a substantially sweetened offer to the pharma company's biggest shareholders, some of whom are reluctant to pay a big premium for Genzyme.

- check out the Reuters analysis on Sanofi
- read the story from the Financial Times
- and here's the Reuters report on the regulatory green light