Sanofi-Synthelabo has strongly denied rumours that it is planning to increase its offer for large pharmaceutical cousin Aventis, despite the fact that the gap between its bid and Aventis' valuation is widening by the day.
Aventis has already dismissed the €47 billion cash and stock bid as ridiculous, and has benefited from reporting a solid set of results last Thursday, as well as today's news that it will be pressing ahead with the filing of Exubera, an inhaled formulation of insulin for diabetics, developed in partnership with Pfizer. This is tipped as a potential €1.6 billion product.
The new developments have boosted Aventis' shares to a current level of more than €62.2, valuing the firm at just under €50 billion, a 5 per cent premium on Sanofi's offer.
Meanwhile, Aventis chief executive Igor Landau has embarked on a 10 city tour of the US and Europe to drum up shareholder support for the company as it strives to remain an independent player.
In a series of press interviews, Landau has asserted that Sanofi's vision of the combined company is warped, because a number of Aventis co-marketing and joint venture deals have exit clauses relating to change of ownership. However, the company has stopped short of actually naming these products.
Sanofi is due to report its own full-year results on Monday (16 February). Speculation persists that the company may take this opportunity to raise its bid and, if not, a white knight may be prepared to step forward with a counter offer.