WSJ: Sanofi may soon sweeten its bid for Genzyme

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Sanofi-Aventis is raising some fresh cash as it ponders how it can best break the gridlock that has stymied its quest to acquire Genzyme. Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme has publicly spurned Sanofi's only official bid of $69 a share--totaling $18.5 billion--which the biotech company says is so far from its true value that the board won't even meet with Sanofi to try and hammer out a deal. As a result, says the Journal, Sanofi is "leaning toward" upping its offer to Genzyme by a few dollars in the hope that it can get everyone to the bargaining table.

The standoff between the two companies has stretched on for weeks now. Sanofi wants Genzyme to name a price, but the big biotech won't. Genzyme wants Sanofi to get real about an offer that gets a lot closer to the $80 ballpark, but Sanofi isn't looking to pay that kind of premium. And the pharma company is clearly reluctant to push a hostile takeover, preferring behind the scenes talks with investors and friendly overtures to management.

Genzyme clearly would like someone else to jump into the bidding game. But so far, there have been no applicants for the white knight job, as there are only a few companies that could afford to play this game.

- here's the story from the Wall Street Journal