PARIS French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) could announce a deal to buy U.S. biotech Genzyme GENZ.O early next week if final negotiations between the companies go smoothly, Le Figaro reported on Thursday.
Sanofi will offer a minimum of $72 or $73 a share in cash, as well as a contingent value right (CVR) based on the performance of experimental multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada worth between $2 and $5 a share, the newspaper said. Genzyme has rejected Sanofi's initial $18.5 billion offer, worth $69 a share, which the French group has extended until February 15.
Sanofi this week gained access to detailed financial information about Genzyme as the two agreed in principle on the terms of a takeover, raising expectations that a final deal can be hammered out in the near term.
Sanofi has agreed to raise its bid to the low $70s-per-share range, plus the CVR milestone payment, a source familiar with the situation said earlier this week, but it did not raise the offer as high as the $75 per share value Genzyme had sought.
The final valuation could be in the "very high $70s" including the CVR, a second source said.
Sanofi is due to publish its results for 2010 on Wednesday, when it is seen posting a 3.2 percent drop in underlying earnings per share for the fourth quarter, excluding items such as amortization and litigation costs, according to the average of 13 estimates in a Reuters poll of analysts.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Will Waterman)