The French Chefs at Sanofi See a Rat in Genzyme's Kitchen

Last Updated Feb 16, 2011 5:05 PM EST


Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) unveiled its deal to acquire Genzyme (GENZ) this morning with a "town hall" presentation to Genzyme employees that cheekily suggests the situation is akin to Ratatouille, the movie about a gourmet rat that lives in the kitchen of a French restaurant. The presentation begins by trying to reassure Genzyme staffers that Sanofi's priority is to:
Listen to you, understand your business and create a collaborative spirit to take this forward together.

[Sanofi will] manage in full respect to people and values, and ensure regular communication.
The deal will close in Q2 2011 and the nuts and bolts of integrating the two companies will begin after that. The PowerPoint closes with a call for "Questions & answers," and this image:


That's a scene from Ratatouille. It's tempting to assume that Sanofi sees itself as the chef and Genzyme as the rodent. Sanofi is based in Paris, after all, and several of its managers speak with straight-from-central-casting French accents.

But if you've seen the movie you'll know that the chef is incompetent and can only cook when he's being helped by the rat, who is the real talent in the kitchen. At one point in the movie, the rat operates the chef like a puppet by hiding under the chef's hat and pulling his hair.

Or maybe the image simply suggests that the deal isn't soup yet.

Bonus points: If you noticed that the deal turned out exactly as I predicted in August. Sanofi walked onto the lot with $20 billion, and by amazing coincidence that's exactly what Genzyme agreed to sell itself for, at $74/share!

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