Pfizer Confirms Bid Interest For AstraZeneca
American drugs giant Pfizer is to make a takeover bid for British rival AstraZeneca, it has been confirmed.
It would be one of the biggest pharmaceuticals deals ever, creating a new company that would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Pfizer has until May 26 to make a final decision on the bid.
The move would also be likely to mark the most expensive foreign takeover of a UK business in history.
In early morning Monday trades,†AstraZeneca's shares were up more than 14%, at £46.90.
But AstraZeneca later urged shareholders to take no action and said it remained confident in its independent strategy.
Manhattan-based Pfizer said if the deal was approved, management for the UK-arm would remain in Britain and that the two businesses are complementary.
In a statement, the bidders said: "Pfizer is confident a combination is capable of being consummated.
"The transaction, if consummated, is expected to result in the combination of the two companies under a new UK-incorporated holding company."
Last year,†AstraZeneca cut hundreds of jobs in a reorganisation of its local operations.
Pfizer said initial talks in January had been rebuffed, along with a further approach last weekend.
Its initial offer valued AstraZeneca's shares at more than £46, including a premium of 30%.
The American company said the new approach would also include a premium for shareholders.
The US company added: "We have great respect for AstraZeneca and its proud heritage as an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a rich science-based foundation in both the United Kingdom and Sweden.
"In addition, the United Kingdom has created attractive incentives for companies to manufacture products and maintain and protect intellectual property, and we have seen that capital and jobs have followed these types of incentives."
The pharmaceutical industry has seen a wave of large-scale mergers and acquisitions recently.
Last week,†GlaxoSmithKline said it would sell its oncology business to rival Novartis for £8.5bn and in return buy the Swiss company's vaccines division.