Sanofi-Aventis is not commenting on an article from Bloomberg that the French drugs major is planning a $20 billion acquisition in the USA.

The news agency cites five unnamed people “with knowledge of the situation” in the story and two of those say that Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher briefed the company's board on the proposed transaction at a special meeting this week. The process is in “very early stages”, says Bloomberg, and an agreement with the unidentified target may not be reached.

That Sanofi is looking at acquisitions in the USA is no great surprise given the amount of deals the firm has done since Mr Viehbacher took over as boss at the end of 2008. It is equally unsurprising that Sanofi is saying nothing at present but the rumour mill is already working away and Biogen Idec and Allergan are being mentioned as targets.
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Previously Sanofi has been heavily linked with Bristol-Myers Squibb, its partner on the bloodthinner blockbuster Plavix (clopidogrel), though the price-tag for the latter would comfortably exceed the $20 billion mentioned by Bloomberg.