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The Socio-Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Mergers: A Case Study of Sanofi and Aventis

Mittra, J

Technology Analysis and Strategic Management   18 (5) 473-496

December 2006

This article critically analyses the events leading up to the 2004 merger between the pharmaceutical companies Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis. It reveals the social, commercial and political complexities and challenges of a merger process in which the defence of French national interests and regional capabilities competed with traditional 'commercial' narratives before the deal was closed. The merger is analysed within the broader context of contemporary debates, within the strategic management and innovation systems literature, about the process of global innovation in pharmaceuticals, industry consolidation and the discursive socio-political discourses that underlie cross-border merger and acquisition activity. The article critically evaluates the competing criteria adopted by government and industry to justify different merger scenarios and considers the implications for pharmaceutical innovation, industry consolidation and M&A theory.