Dollars and Jens
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Novartis Agrees to Enter Talks With Aventis on Possible Merger
An update on recent discussion:
Novartis AG Thursday said it is ready to enter merger talks with Franco-German drug maker Aventis SA, which is the target of a €48 billion ($57.1 billion) hostile bid by smaller rival Sanofi-Synthelabo SA.If you subscribe to the Journal, you can read the rest of the story. If you don't, I assume someone else will publish a version shortly, but the Journal's is the only online version I've seen so far.
"The board of directors of Novartis has decided to accept the offer of the Aventis supervisory board to negotiate conditions for a potential business combination," Novartis said in a brief statement. "No assurances can be given that an agreement can be reached," it said.
Novartis also posted a 22% jump in 2003 profit on a 16% revenue rise.
The Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant previously had said it wanted to accept the invitation from Aventis to begin merger talks, but only if the French government drops its implicitly hostile stance toward a possible deal and declares itself "neutral."