AstraZeneca takeover: Cameron 'must intervene' in Pfizer's bid
Friday 16 May 2014
David Cameron has come under renewed pressure to intervene in Pfizer’s £63 billion takeover bid for AstraZeneca after Swedish ministers said it was important for the UK to influence the “semi-hostile” approach.
The comments came as Astra’s chief executive Pascal Soriot told the London Evening Standard that “a merger could be disruptive” to potential new cancer medicine breakthroughs, adding: “There is no amount of ring-fencing [of research] you can do to address that.”
Sweden’s finance minister Anders Borg and enterprise minister, Annie Lööf, similarly warned that Pfizer’s potential takeover was “not in the interest of important life-science research in Sweden, in the UK or elsewhere.”
The ministers wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Pfizer’s jobs guarantees in its “semi-hostile” takeover “do not seem to be sufficient.”
They added: “Pfizer has a history of quickly and sharply cutting staff in the wake of acquisitions” and said nearly 100,000 employees had been sacked by the US giant since 1999.
They concluded: “AstraZeneca’s owners should seriously consider rejecting Pfizer’s proposal.”
AstraZeneca has some 5900 employees in Sweden and has become the nation’s top corporate taxpayer since the country’s Astra merged with Zeneca of the UK 15 years ago.
A deal by Pfizer, which is expected to table an improved bid within days, would be the biggest foreign takeover in British history, but David Cameron has indicated his confidence in Pfizer’s jobs pledges, such as a fifth of the combined drugmaker’s research roles being in the UK for the next five years, means he will take a hands-off approach to any bid.
He added: “Britain benefits massively by being an economy that is open to overseas investment.”
Soriot, who is today visiting more investors to build up support for independence, maintained “this deal is not inevitable”, elaborating that a “lot of people think this is a done deal and a question of price [but] we are actually very confident we can create shareholder value on our own”.
It has emerged that Pfizer chief Ian Read and top scientist Mikael Dolsten sold more than $12 million (£7 million) of their shares in the drugmaker just two months ago, The Independent revealed.
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
- 4 Headaches, fry ups, and hair of the dog - why do we get hangovers, and is there such thing as a 'cure'?
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
iJobs Money & Business
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...