So Close, Yet So Far Away: How Sanofi Lost to Johnson & Johnson in the Epic $30 Billion Battle for Actelion

Swiss biotech company Actelion, days before agreeing to a $30 billion bid by Johnson & Johnson, found a rival offer to be as attractive but went with J&J because its offer provided more certainty, a filing showed on Thursday.

Relations had already soured with the rival bidder, identified previously by sources familiar with the situation as French drugmaker Sanofi, after it went back on an initially higher bid, according to the J&J filing formally setting out details of the offer.

J&J's agreement on Jan. 26 to buy Actelion in an all-cash deal marked the biggest European drugs takeover in 13 years.

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