UPDATE 2-Genzyme investor: Right Sanofi price ‘lots higher’

* $69/share not even good starting point — Whitworth

* Ingredients for a deal are there — Whitworth

* Genzyme shares at $70.99, down slightly on Thursday
(Adds background on deal, shares)

By Lewis Krauskopf and Bill Berkrot

NEW YORK, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Genzyme Corp (GENZ.O: )
shareholder and board member Ralph Whitworth said the
“ingredients are there” for a deal with Sanofi-Aventis SA
(SASY.PA: ), but the French drugmaker’s $69-a-share offer is “not
even a good starting point” and needs to go “lots higher.”

Whitworth, an activist investor, said in an interview he
would not stand in the way of a deal at a fair price, but made
clear Sanofi’s $18.5 billion hostile offer fell far short.

“I talk to these shareholders, I know them, and it’s very
clear from them that $69 is just not the price. It’s not even a
good starting point,” Whitworth told CNBC television.

Whitworth called Sanofi’s Chief Executive Officer Chris
Viehbacher a “sophisticated player, a seasoned manager” and
said he and Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer should be able to pound
out a deal.

“They know these assets. The boards know the assets. The
values are there,” Whitworth said. “All the ingredients are

Whitworth was a critic of the U.S. biotechnology company’s
management before winning appointment to the board earlier this

His Relational Investors, a $6 billion investment firm, is
Genzyme’s third-biggest shareholder with about 4.1 percent of
outstanding shares, behind another activist investor, Carl
Icahn, and ClearBridge Advisors, according to Thomson Reuters

Whitworth said a deal should happen, but when asked what
the right price is, he said: “Lots higher.”

Genzyme, which specializes in high-priced treatments for
rare genetic disorders, has been resisting the takeover bid
from Sanofi as too low. Sanofi’s initial tender offer expires
on Dec. 10, but shareholders are expected to reject the offer
at the current $69-a-share price.

Genzyme shares were trading at $70.99 on Thursday and have
been consistently above the offer price on expectations of an
eventual higher bid.

Genzyme became vulnerable to a takeover when a
manufacturing crisis led to severe shortages of two of its
biggest selling drugs, hurting earnings and sending its share
price plunging.

Sanofi launched its hostile bid, making its pitch directly
to shareholders, in October after Genzyme said in late August
that the $69-a-share offer did not justify entering talks.

Genzyme has argued that Sanofi is significantly
undervaluing Genzyme’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug,
Campath, and has failed to take into account that the
manufacturing problems are largely behind the company.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, Bill Berkrot and Ransdell
Pierson; editing by Andre Grenon)

UPDATE 2-Genzyme investor: Right Sanofi price ‘lots higher’