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.

"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."
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.

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