Shares of Sanofi-Aventis rose and Bristol-Myers Squibb stock tumbled Monday after a report that the French drugmaker had called off talks on a possible combination with the U.S.-based company.
Sanofi-Aventis SA shares rose as much as 1.35 euros, or 2 percent, to 68.85 euros in Paris, after British newspaper The Times reported over the weekend that Sanofi had ended discussions on the possible acquisition of Bristol-Myers amid a disagreement over the price.
In New York, shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. fell $1.13, or nearly 1 percent, to $27.39 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Times, citing unnamed sources, said the talks collapsed because of patent disputes over blood-thinning drug Plavix — the Sanofi best-seller marketed by Bristol-Myers in the United States — and because Sanofi was not prepared to pay nearly $28 per share for its U.S. partner.
Bristol-Myers, which has no permanent CEO but has recently introduced several promising new drugs, has been at the center of growing takeover speculation.
A combination between Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb would create the world’s largest pharmaceutical company by sales, ahead of current market leader Pfizer Inc.
Sanofi management is likely to be pressed to clarify its position on a possible combination with Bristol-Myers when the Paris-based company announces its 2006 earnings on Tuesday.