Sanofi-Aventis looks to have succeeded in its bid to acquire Zentiva after the board at the Czech generic drugmaker accepted a higher bid,valuing the firm at 1.8 billion euros.

Under the terms of the approved offer, Zentiva shareholders will receive 1,150 Czech crowns per share, a 9.5% increase on Sanofi’s original bid in June. The Prague-headquartered firm had rejected that earlier bid, saying that it “fails to reflect the underlying value of Zentiva and its future prospects”.

Sanofi, which already has a 24.9% holding in Zentiva, said it has made “certain commitments with respect to the treatment of the latter’s employees and its chief executive Jiri Michal will continue in the role. Mr Michal said that the company’s board has now unanimously accepted the French drugmaker’s offer.

He added the improved offer “represents attractive value for Zentiva’s shareholders, particularly in light of the current market turbulence”. Mr Michal went on to say that the proposed transaction “safeguards the interests of all of our other stakeholders, our customers, suppliers and employees”. He concluded by saying that with this agreement “we can put the recent period of uncertainty behind us”.

The deal gives Sanofi access to one of the leading generics firms in central and eastern Europe. Zentiva is a market leader in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Romania and Slovakia and says it is growing “dynamically” in Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, the Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

The improved bid is also likely to appeal to financial group PPF, which in tandem with Italian insurance group Generali currently has a 19.2% holding in Zentiva. Before Sanofi made its original offer, PPF had bid 950 crowns per share, which was rejected by Zentiva in June.