Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

Group hug for Sanofi-Aventis and Genzyme?

The rumor mill is ablaze with reports that the French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis will send a so-called “bear hug” letter before the week is through to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Genzyme with a takeover bid offering close to $19 billion, or $70 per share. Bear hugs are generally friendly in tone (think Care Bears), but they often signal that a company is moving toward a more hostile conquest (think non-fictional bear contacts).

Buying up Genzyme, the world’s third-largest biotechnology company, should help Sanofi-Aventis with its impending patent cliff and associated losses in revenue, Forbes reports. According to Sanford Bernstein analyst Timothy Anderson, the Paris-based pharma giant’s sales will fall from $41.2 billion in 2010 to $34.7 billion in 2014. In contrast, Mark Schoenebaum, a biotech analyst with International Stock Research, projects that Genzyme’s sales will nearly double between 2010 and 2014, approaching $6.8 billion.

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