Pfizer confirms second bid for AstraZeneca

Pfizer is poised to kick off the biggest foreign takeover of a British company with a $105 billion (£62 billion) hostile bid battle for AstraZeneca.

Pfizer today went public with its ambitions to buy AstraZeneca.

But AstraZeneca swiftly issued a strongly worded statement rejecting talks and disputing Pfizer’s claim it had made a specific proposal regarding an offer. It said Pfizer’s approach “very significantly undervalued AstraZeneca and its prospects”.

Astra’s board added it had concerns about Pfizer’s proposed structure of the merged company, with Pfizer redomiciling in the UK for tax purposes.

It comes after Viagra maker Pfizer went over the heads of Astra’s board to investors, with a public statement that it had first approached Astra in January, but the UK firm had “declined to pursue negotiations”. Pfizer said it contacted Astra for a second time on Saturday about a bid, but “AstraZeneca again declined to engage”.

City analysts expect a hostile takeover could erupt, sending shares in Astra soaring 15%, or 615p, to 4695p.

“Pfizer is confident a combination is capable of being consummated,” the US drugmaker said.

There are fears on how that would affect British jobs, as AstraZeneca has drawn up plans, but not broken ground, on a £330 million new headquarters and global research centre in Cambridge, employing 2000 people.

If Pfizer moved some of Astra’s production out of the UK it would also hit the nation: the drugmaker produces 3% of Britain’s manufacturing exports, with eight sites employing 7000 staff. One of those, Alderley Park in Cheshire, is in chancellor George Osborne’s constituency.

AstraZeneca has sacked thousands of scientists and other staff as it tries to save money to cope with slipping sales as blockbuster drugs fall out of patent. Pfizer has done the same to cope with its own patent cliff, including closing a major research site in Sandwich, Kent. But Pfizer today tried to allay jobs fears, saying it would combine the two businesses in a new, UK-incorporated holding company. Its head office would be in New York, as would its listing, but management would remain in the UK, Pfizer said.

Its chairman and chief executive Ian Read added: “The UK 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.”

Pfizer’s first approach was a cash and shares deal worth £58.8 billion but the City said it has “more firepower left”. Jefferies’ pharma analyst Jeffrey Holford said the offer price could value AstraZeneca at $105 billion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss