Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Notes from JPM: Don't Expect Buybacks from Sanofi

Here at the IN VIVO Blog we've never really been a fan of share buybacks--surely companies can find a better use of their cash?--but we do get an earful from time to time from people who want to assure us of the wisdom of spending billions on these transactions. So we were happy to hear there are pharma executives in high places who share our opinion.

During the breakout session after his talk here at the JP Morgan conference Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher was asked if Sanofi would consider a buyback. His answer was a resounding "no."

After explaining that his company was "clearly mindful of shareholder value" and citing Sanofi's dividend as an example of that commitment, he gave his opinion on buybacks.

Companies resort to share repurchases when they've "run out of any ideas," he said. "And the day we run out of ideas, I will retire on that day and let my successor do a share buyback."

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