NEW YORK, April 26 (GenomeWeb News) - After having previously put up heavy resistance to a hostile takeover bid by French drug maker Sanofi-Synthelabo, Aventis said yesterday that it is recommending its shareholders accept the deal in light of improved terms.
In January, Sanofi offered roughly $60 billion to buy Aventis, which rejected the deal as offering "inferior value" to shareholders. This week, however, Aventis said that it has accepted a sweetened offer worth about $65.3 billion from Sanofi.
If accepted by Aventis' shareholders, the merger will create the world's third largest drugs firm behind number one Pfizer and number two GlaxoSmithKline - Aventis generated about $20 billion in net sales last year, while spending roughly $3.4 billion on research and development; Sanofi had sales of about $9.5 billion in 2003, and spent $1.5 billion on R&D.
The two companies also have numerous arrangements with genomics, informatics, and microarray firms, including Ardais, Affymetrix, Ingenuity, Serenex, and Pharsight. Aventis is also developing an antisense-based cancer drug with Genta.