REFILE-UPDATE 1-Sanofi gets US authorities OK for Genzyme bid

Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:01am EDT

(Refiles to correct spelling of authorities in headline)

* U.S. authorities give green light to takeover

* Sanofi $69 tender offer expires on Dec 10

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PARIS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - France's Sanofi Aventis (SASY.PA) said on Wednesday that it had received the green light from U.S. antitrust regulators to take-over the U.S. biotech Genzyme GENZ.O.

Sanofi said that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino antitrust improvements act of 1976 had expired. The act puts a waiting period on all mergers in the United States so that federal authorities can inspect them for obvious antitrust violations.

On Oct. 4 Sanofi-Aventis took a $69 per share offer for Genzyme directly to shareholders, after management refused to come to the table and discuss a friendly takeover.

The bid, widely seen as an opening offer to induce Genzyme to open its books, expires just before midnight on Dec. 10. Should Genzyme management continue to refuse to negotiate, the battle to take over the company could be prolonged and result in a proxy battle. [ID:nN19155378]

Sanofi aims to acquire Genzyme's lucrative portfolio of drugs for rare diseases as it prepares for the loss of patent protection on top-selling drugs, such as its biggest product, the blood clot preventer Plavix. (Reporting by Nina Sovich; Editing by Hans Peters)

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