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February 12, 2007
Good Sense Breaks Out, Film at Eleven?
This weekend brought reports that the widely rumored Sanofi-Aventis / Bristol-Myers Squibb merger deal has been called off. No one at either company is confirming this, but then, no one at either company ever confirmed that a deal was being worked on in the first place.
I'm quite happy to hear this, naturally, since I've been ranting about pharmaceutical mergers for years now. But I'm afraid that this isn't a case of Sanofi-Aventis realizing that perhaps they shouldn't hogtie their research productivity just as they need it to expand. No, if the deal has indeed been put aside, it seems likely to have been done in by disagreements over Plavix and perhaps by the rise in the BMS share price. That last factor, although cited in some of the news reports, seems a bit odd. You'd think that a company would factor those things in when they cost out one of these ideas, but who knows?
So as the Plavix situation gets settled in court this year (one way or another), I would expect this deal to come back to life. S-A's chairman, Jean-Francois Dehecq, seems to enjoy this kind of thing, and once a CEO gets a taste for engulfing other companies they often don't seem to know when to quit. For their part, Bristol-Myers Squibb seems to want to remain an independent company, and I salute them for it.
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