Pfizer-AstraZeneca Hearings: Bosses Pleased
Both Ian Read, the Pfizer chief executive and Pascal Soriot, the AstraZeneca chief executive, will, in their own separate ways, be satisfied at how Tuesday's hearings before the Business Select Committee went.
For Mr Read, there will have been relief that he did not make any major gaffes.
He did not manage to convince the listening politicians that his company's proposed takeover of AstraZeneca would be a good thing but he did not, at least, provide them with any more ammunition for attacking it.
He was also able to reiterate his key message - a commitment that Pfizer, should it succeed in taking over its Anglo-Swedish rival, will retain a fifth of the enlarged group's research and development operations here in the UK.
Mr Soriot, meanwhile, will have been pleased that he was also able to get out some key messages.
The first of these - aimed at a wider City audience as much as the MPs - was a reiteration that AstraZeneca is a company that he is in the process of turning around and that Pfizer's offer is too little, too late.
But Mr Soriot also scored some valuable PR points, not least a dramatic upping of the ante in suggesting that disruption caused by the takeover could delay the development of some medicines, potentially resulting in some patient deaths.
This handed him the day's best sound bite: "What will we tell the person whose father died from lung cancer because one of our medicines was delayed because our companies were involved in saving taxes or saving costs?"
He will also hope his decision to flank himself with two of his chief scientists will have been contrasted with the way Mr Read was supported by his chief financial officer and UK managing director and his company's much greater contribution to the Exchequer.
It was £1.5bn paid in UK taxes during the last five years compared with just £400m during the last three years from Pfizer.
As for the MPs, there will probably just be frustration.
They failed to elicit from Mr Read any details on precisely how many jobs would be lost in the event of a takeover or any detail on how much the enlarged Pfizer would enjoy in tax savings in the event of a takeover.
There were very good reasons for this. Mr Read probably has a number in mind for both figures and also, underpinned by them, how much more he is prepared to offer for AstraZeneca than the £63bn (£50 per share) that is currently being dangled.
It would have scuppered his negotiating tactics had he showed his hand on either front.
That was not to say the questioning was not valuable.
The MPs did at least wring from Mr Read an admission that, should this takeover succeed, there will be job losses.
They were also not bamboozled into thinking that his promise to retain 20% of global research and development in the UK does not preclude further job cuts.
And rightly so since, when Pfizer is not prepared to say how much its total spending on research and development will amount to in the event of a takeover, it is very difficult to know what 20% of that will amount to.
And then there was Vince Cable.
The Business Secretary was on unusually tight-lipped form, refusing to be drawn on whether he favoured blocking the bid on the grounds that it is not in the public interest, noting that this was "tricky stuff".
He did note, though, that Mr Read's commitments were "a good starting point" for negotiations with the Government although he might have added that, as the law presently stands, there is very little the Government can do to stop a takeover if AstraZeneca's shareholders vote for one.
Blocking a bid, or at least forcing a change in its terms, will be the preserve of competition authorities in the US, the EU and, in due course, China.
For those wanting more of this, Mr Read and Mr Soriot will be back in Westminster on Wednesday, facing the Commons Science Committee.
But the next big event in this saga is likely to be when Pfizer - as most City analysts seem to be assuming - improves its terms in an attempt to bring AstraZeneca's board to the table and get them to open the books.