AstraZeneca takeover: Cameron 'must intervene' in Pfizer's bid

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
News
Williams says: 'The reason I got jobs was because they would blow the budget on the big guys - but they only had to pay me the price of a cup of tea'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee