Pfizer's £69bn Takeover Bid For AstraZeneca
The US drugs manufacturer Pfizer has raised its final takeover bid for the British company AstraZeneca to £69.3bn.
Pfizer announced in a statement that its offer would be final, adding that it would not be increased.
The company said it would not make a hostile offer directly to AstraZeneca shareholders, and would only proceed with an offer with the recommendation of AstraZeneca's board.
Under the takeover bid, the cash element has been increased to 45%, with AstraZeneca shareholders set to receive 1.747 shares in the enlarged company for each of their AstraZeneca shares and 2,476p in cash.
AstraZeneca rejected an earlier cash-and-stock approach worth £50 a share on May 2, arguing it substantially undervalued the company.
Pfizer is seeking to create the world's largest drugs company, with its headquarters in New York and a tax base in Britain.
Investors have backed AstraZeneca in rejecting the offer of £50 a share, but many say they would want it to engage if Pfizer came back with an improved offer.
Sky's City Editor Mark Kleinman said the AstraZeneca board is likely to respond quickly to the bid, possibly by as early as 7am today.
"If this deal goes through it would be the biggest-ever foreign takeover of a British company," he added.
There has been growing concern over the proposed deal in recent weeks in Britain, the US and in Sweden, where AstraZeneca has some of its roots.
Politicians fear the deal could lead to job losses and delays in the development of life-saving drugs. AstraZeneca currently has 6,700 British-based staff.
But Pfizer boss Ian Read told MPs this week that a merger would accelerate the delivery of products to patients.
"After the acquisition, any product that is important, that is close to patients ... within 30 days we would probably do a review, we would ring-fence any important products and they would continue to be developed," he said.
"There is absolutely no truth to any comment that some products of (a) critical nature would be delayed getting to patients. If anything we would accelerate that to patients."
Mr Read also guaranteed that 20% of the new firm's research and development workforce would be based in the UK.