PM 'Wants More' From Pfizer Takeover Bid
David Cameron says he is not satisfied with the commitments given by the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in the face of concerns about its takeover bid for AstraZeneca.
While the Prime Minister said the promises made so far - including retaining at least 20% of the research and development (R&D) workforce in the UK - were "encouraging", he indicated the firm had yet to convince him the merger would be in the national interest.
Mr Cameron rejected accusations by the Labour leader Ed Miliband that he was "cheerleading" for the deal, but told MPs the UK "benefits massively" from foreign investment and he warned against putting this at risk.
The £63bn offer by Pfizer - described by AstraZeneca as significantly undervaluing the business - has been rebuffed.
But executives have not given up hope of completing a deal, which if it goes through would be the biggest ever foreign takeover of a British company.
Fears have been raised that resulting cost-cutting could cause the loss of thousands of highly skilled jobs and undermine the UK's science base.
Labour is pressing for a law change to ensure any takeover of AstraZeneca is subjected to a public interest test.
Referring to the commitments already made by Pfizer, Mr Cameron said: "Let me be absolutely clear, I'm not satisfied, I want more.
"But the way to get more is to engage, not to stand up and play party politics.
"The more we can do to strengthen the assurances the better."
He said he agreed with the position taken by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, who refused on Tuesday to rule out intervening to block a formal bid.
Mr Cameron said: "The most important intervention we can make is to back British jobs, British science, British R&D, British medicines and British technology."
He added: "There is more inward investment into Britain today than the rest of the European Union combined. Don't let's put that at risk."
Asked later what further commitments the PM was looking for, a source said: "We are taking a long, hard look at what we can do to strengthen assurances."