'Right Price' Will Get Genzyme Deal Done

Genzyme is reluctant to sell right now, but a bid starting at $80 a share is likely to get negotiations moving toward a deal, source says.
Author:
Publish date:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (

TheStreet

) --

Sanofi-Aventis

(SNY) - Get Report

is definitely interested in buying

Genzyme

(GENZ)

.

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

is thinking about kicking the tires, too. Genzyme is flattered by all the attention but the biotech firm isn't ready to commit just yet. Unless, of course, the asking price is right

So, what is that "right" asking price for Genzyme? A good starting point is $80 a share, according to a source close to the situation.

At $80 a share, a Genzyme acquisition would cost about $22 billion. At that price, Genzyme's value bakes in the future revenue that could come -- should come -- when the company fixes its drug manufacturing problems. The price also takes into account future drug launches, including Genzyme's late-stage multiple sclerosis drug, the most important product in the company's pipeline.

Henri Termeer, CEO of Genzyme

Genzyme would be worth well more than $80 a share if the company were better managed and wasn't saddled with smaller, money-losing drug franchises, but $80 a share is reasonable considering the risk and time it will take to turn Genzyme around, the source said.

At this point, no specific offer has been made for Genzyme so it's not known if Sanofi (more likely) or Glaxo (less likely) is even interested in paying that much. A bid of $80 a share represents an almost 50% premium to Genzyme's closing stock price last Thursday, the day before the takeout rumors hit.

Genzyme closed Monday at $67.38.

Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer is said to be reluctant to sell the company he's run for 20-plus years, but his ability to enforce his will isn't what it used to be. The viral contamination that shut down Genzyme's Alston manufacturing plant and caused severed shortages of its two most important drugs led to a mini-shareholder revolt, albeit one that Termeer managed to live through.

As a result of proxy fights and negotiated boardroom deals, Genzyme's board is now populated with directors hand-picked by some of the company's largest (and activist) shareholders, including

Carl Icahn

and Relational Investors. It's these investors who will more likely decide if or when Genzyme begins formal negotiations with a prospective suitor.

"Henri

Termeer would prefer not to sell right now but he will come around. At the right price, he can declare victory and walk away vindicated," said the source familiar with the current situation.

Last Friday, ISI Group biotech analyst Mark Schoenebaum pegged Genzyme's value at $78 a share, based on sum-of-the-parts analysis of the company's various drug franchises.

Lazard Capital, in a Monday note, raised its Genzyme price target to $73 from $58 to reflect a reasonable takeout value.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Follow Adam Feuerstein on

Twitter

.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

click here

to send him an email.