Can Aventis Fight Off Its Hostile Suitor?
Sanofi-Synthelabo’s hostile $58 billion bid to acquire its French pharmaceutical rival Aventis has roused European markets and French pride. Even though the merger could cost thousands of French workers their jobs, the deal appears to have the blessing of government officials who hope to breed – or at least preserve – a national champion in the high-profit pharmaceuticals sector. Aventis, however, is fighting back. The company complains it is actually the stronger of the two companies and is more valuable to shareholders on its own. It is also openly seeking a White Knight. Yet analysts say it is only a matter of time, and price, before Aventis agrees to become a part of Sanofi. The combined company would be the world’s third largest drug maker by sales – behind Pfizer, based in the U.S. , and Britain ’s GlaxoSmithKline – with 100,000 employees around the world. “This is a marriage of convenience, not a marriage of love,” says Claude Allary, a managing partner at the Parisian life scie