Financial News

  • 28 May 2014, 5:53

Pfizer Walks Away From 69bn AstraZeneca Deal

US firm Pfizer has confirmed it will not make another offer for British pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca as a deadline expired for it to lodge a formal bid.

Last weekend, Pfizer offered 55-a-share for AstraZeneca, valuing it at 69bn, which was rejected by its prospective merger partner.

Ian Read, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a statement: "We continue to believe that our final proposal was compelling and represented full value for AstraZeneca based on the information that was available to us.

"As we said from the start, the pursuit of this transaction was a potential enhancement to our existing strategy.

"We will continue our focus on the execution of our plans, bringing forth new treatments to meet patients' needs and remaining responsible stewards of our shareholders' capital."

AstraZeneca investors are divided about the board's handling of the 55-a-share bid, with its shares closing on Friday at 43.28.

Last week, Schroders issued a statement criticising the actions of both companies, while Sky News revealed that BlackRock, AstraZeneca's biggest shareholder, wanted it to invite Pfizer to reopen merger talks.

Those which backed the board's stance that AstraZeneca would be stronger as a standalone business include Fidelity Investments, M&G Investments and Woodford Investment Management.

Under rules supervised by the City takeover watchdog, Pfizer will be prohibited from making a further offer for AstraZeneca for six months.

It has said it will not make a hostile bid by going directly to AstraZeneca's shareholders.

However, the British group, which will set out further details of its cancer drug pipeline at a key industry conference in the US this week, could approach Pfizer to enter talks in three months' time.

Advertisement