Aventis launches legal challenge to Sanofi takeover bid
13 February 2004 15:49 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Aventis has given itself two to three months breathing space by appealing against the decision by French stock exchange authorities to approve rival Sanofi-Synthelabo's hostile takeover bid for the Franco-German pharmaceuticals group.
Aventis said on Friday it has filed an action with the Court of Appeals in Paris seeking to invalidate the approval granted by the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF).
The company declared: "Aventis believes it has strong grounds to obtain the relief sought, and intends to submit detailed pleadings to the Court of Appeals in the next 15 days in accordance with the applicable procedural rules."
French pharmaceuticals company Sanofi is due to publish its formal offer prospectus on Monday (16 February), the same day Sanofi presents its 2003 financial results. Sanofi's stock and cash offer, valued at about Euro48bn ($61bn) when first announced on 26 January, will be open to Aventis shareholders from Tuesday (17 February). Aventis then has five days to prepare its defence.
An Aventis spokeswoman said the appeal will have no impact on this timetable. However, the offer by Sanofi cannot close as long as the appeal is being heard and this usually takes two to three months, she added.
She would not give any further details about the arguments contained in the appeal, but said: "This legal action is motivated by the desire to protect our company, shareholders and employees."
There was no-one immediately available at Sanofi to comment on the legal challenge by Aventis.By: Will Beacham+44 208 652 3214
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