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Allergan Slips as Sanofi Appears to Turn Attention Elsewhere

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Shares of Allergan Inc., the Irvine-based maker of Botox and other drugs, fell Friday, likely on speculation that it’s no longer a potential takeover target by France’s Sanofi-Aventis SA.

Allergan shares saw a pronounced drop in early afternoon New York trading, falling about 3% on a market value of $18.5 billion. The shares had been up for most of the day.

Sanofi reportedly is sounding out Cambridge, Mass.-based drug maker Genzyme Corp. about a possible deal, according to a Reuters report on Friday.

Reuters quoted an unnamed source saying that talks between Sanofi and Genzyme are at an early stage and that no deal is imminent.

Three weeks ago, Allergan’s shares jumped after reports came out that Sanofi’s board met in Paris and discussed several potential deals, including one or two that could be worth at least $15 billion.

Analysts quoted in reports around that time said Allergan, Genzyme and Biogen Idec Inc., another Cambridge drug maker, were possible Sanofi targets.

Allergan, which makes medical cosmetic products as well as eye and skin drugs, has been the subject of occasional takeover buzz in recent years.

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