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Pharmaceutical M&A: Creating Value?

Executive Summary

Observers and investors are placing their bets on the outcome of Europe's first hostile pharma bid, Sanofi-Synthelabo's proposed takeover of Aventis, and on whether the resulting entity would indeed be able to thrive against competitors such as GSK and Pfizer. But even against the checkered backdrop of past pharmaceutical mergers, it remains unclear whether Sanofi can achieve even an average amount of savings from such a deal.

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As Aventis digs its heels in and Sanofi refuses to raise its offer, a friendly deal between the two players looks increasingly less likely. Most observers still expect the deal to happen: white knight stories aren't convincing and none have the political support that this combination enjoys. But if Sanofi does win, it must use the transaction to transform its Franco-centric business, not merely enlarge it.

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