Citing an anonymous source obviously familiar with the matter, but a source unable to "go on the record" because the source is not authorized to speak for either of the companies, I can confirm the following:
". . . .A LOT of work was done by several of the bidders, and there were at least two bidders who made serious Phase 2 bids. . . .
There was -- at least from what I saw -- a lot of due diligence material prepared and disclosed. . . . I heard the first round of bids were strong. The second round had two strong bids, and there continues to be a lot of follow-up activity in response to specific questions from the bidders. I don't have experience in this sort of thing, but Reuters' use of the word "farce" seemed pretty strong. Maybe that quote came from someone whose bid didn't make the cut. . . ."
Well, perhaps Sanofi-Aventis doesn't have quite the upper hand Reuters was told it does. Is it thus possible that Reuters' story was sourced through/by Sanofi agents? That seems a strong possibility. As ever, more to come.