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STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Sanofi up on talk of Merial buyout deal

Sanofi-Aventis SASY.PA shares are top of the leaderboard on France's benchmark CAC-40 index .FCHI on speculation that it may acquire full control of the Merial animal health venture it runs with U.S. partner Merck & Co Inc MRK.N.

“For Sanofi, such a move would help it reduce its dependency on generics and help it cope with setbacks on its patents,” says Natixis Securities analyst Sylvain Goyon.

Sanofi is up 3.8 percent at 46.63 euros in late afternoon trade, the top gainer on the CAC-40 index .FCHI which is up 0.3 percent and outperforming the Europe healthcare index .SXDP, which gains 1.2 percent

Reuters messaging:sudip.kargupta.reuters.com@reuters.net

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