Weil and Ropes lead on Sanofi’s £12bn Genzyme acquisition

A quartet of international firms has scooped lead roles as French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis finalised its $20.1bn (£12.47bn) acquisition of US company Genzyme.

Weil Gotshal & Manges consolidated its relationship with Sanofi, fielding a large team on the deal. US-based Michael Aiello, co-head of the firm’s M&A group, led a team of partners working out of New York, Paris and London.

Genzyme general counsel Tom DesRosier and deputy general counsel Tracey Quarles instructed long-standing adviser Ropes & Gray. Boston-based corporate partner Paul Kinsella led the firm’s advice.

The acquisition sees the French company pay $74 in cash for each Genzyme share, amounting to $20.1bn. Each Genzyme shareholder also stands to receive one Contingent Value Right (CVR) for each share they own. Every shareholder will receive additional cash payments if specific milestones related to the production of certain drugs are achieved.

The unsolicited deal has been under negotiation since last August and is the second-biggest M&A transaction ever in the biotechnology sector.

Clifford Chance represented the French lenders financing the acquisition. New York restructuring partner Evan Cohen advised on US banking regulatory issues while corporate partner Brian Hoffmann advised on US M&A processes.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz completed the line-up of legal advisers, being instructed by Genzyme’s independent directors. The firm’s team was led by corporate partner Andrew Brownstein.