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Sanofi-Aventis buys US consumer health care company

December 21, 2009
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Reuters reports French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis has agreed to buy the consumer health care company Chattem for about $1.9 billion, in a deal that will give Sanofi an over-the-counter presence in the United States. Sanofi said in a statement that it would start a tender offer for all of Chattem’s shares at $93.50 a share in cash. The Paris-based group said the offer represented a 34 percent premium above Chattem’s the most recent closing share price. Sanofi added that the transaction was valued at about $1.9 billion and had been backed by Chattem’s directors. Chattem, which was founded more than 100 years ago and is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., makes and sells household and personal care products like over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics and dietary supplements. Its products include Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo, Cortizone-10, Gold Bond skin care creams and Icy Hot pain relief medicine. “The acquisition of Chattem will be a significant milestone in Sanofi-Aventis’s transformation strategy and will provide us with the ideal platform in the U.S. consumer health care market, which represents 25 percent of the current worldwide opportunity,” Sanofi’s chief executive, Christopher A. Viehbacher, said in a statement. The deal fits with Sanofi’s plan to broaden the business away from prescription drugs, aiming to offset looming sales losses of older drugs as a result of generic competition and new branded rivals. The French group has looked to partnership deals to find new drugs and takeovers of up to 15 billion euros or $21.5 billion, rather than pursuing mega-mergers — a tactic preferred by rivals like Pfizer and Merck.
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