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Will Sanofi-Aventis Seek Hostile Takeover of Genzyme?

Sanofi-Aventis, the very large French pharmaceutical company, made an informal acquisition approach to Genzyme.

That approach was essentially rebuffed and not met with any significant talks, according to people familiar with the matter. However, Sanofi is seriously considering mounting an unsolicited bid for the biotech company Genzyme .

Sanofi's CEO is said to be very serious about this pursuit of Genzyme and despite the hurdles in completing a hostile, cross border deal and despite manufacturing problems at Genzyme that have hampered its competitive position. People close to Sanofi tell me they would be surprised if Sanofi did not move ahead with an offer.

Any offer would not be a tender, but likely come in the form of a bear hug letter. It's not clear what price Sanofi is willing to pay, though it is believed to be above Genzyme's current price.

Before the markets opened on Wednesday, Genzyme reported below-expectation second-quarter results and reduced full-year guidance. Revenue for 2010 is expected to range between $4.410 billion and $4.510 billion, versus the previous guidance range of $5.23 billion-$5.53 billion.

At this time it is unclear what price this would be. But just last month it was reported that Sanofi-Aventis was planing a major U.S. acquisition—possibly worth $20 billion or more.

Sanofi officials have declined comment as have spokespeople at Genzyme. That company's shares soared today on news of Sanofi's interest.

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*This post was last updated at 4:13p.

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