Pfizer tries to allay fears over £63bn Astra bid

But Swedish finance minister warns over group's track record

The US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has hit back at criticism of its £62.5bn bid for its rival AstraZeneca, promising its proposal would speed up the development of new drugs and "bolster innovative science".

The group – which has had two bids rejected by AstraZeneca – has come under attack from politicians, who have raised fears about jobs and the future of Britain's science industry if the largest ever foreign takeover of a UK company goes through.

In an infographic posted on its website, Pfizer said the deal would enable it to "seize new opportunities to expand our global research capabilities and partnerships to better serve patients in need".

The company also quoted the former GlaxoSmithKline chief executive, Sir Richard Sykes, who said that Pfizer had "first-class people doing first-class research".

AstraZeneca has so far rejected Pfizer's advances and on Tuesday Pascal Soriot, the company's chief executive, laid out his defence plan, promising that an independent AstraZeneca will nearly double its annual sales to more than $45bn (£27bn) by 2023, thanks largely to its pipeline of new medicines.

Mr Soriot said that process would be jeopardised by a takeover and added: "I have been through enough mergers to know a company is not a machine. It is a group of people. If you disrupt their work you can really have a negative impact very quickly."

The decision to reject Pfizer's bids has split shareholders, with some of the company's largest investors, including AXA Investment Managers and Schroders, calling for talks even though they believe the price is too low.

Others have backed the company, including Investor AB, which controls 4.1 per cent of AstraZeneca's shares. Sweden's finance minister Anders Borg has even waded into the debate, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that his country's experience of pledges from Pfizer had led him to be sceptical of the US firm.

"Our experience shows that their track record is not very convincing and I think one should take these kind of promises not only with a pinch of salt but a sackful of salt," Mr Borg said.

Analysts expect Pfizer to return with another sweetened bid. "We expect the recent flurry of noise coming from Government to provide relatively little of substance and expect a further bid to materialise in the coming weeks," said Savvas Neophytou at Panmure Gordon, who added that AstraZeneca's new projections imply a valuation of as much as £105 a share. "We have set out relatively conservative assumptions which should make a bid of £55 per share easily achievable for Pfizer," the analyst added.

AstraZeneca shares closed down 46.5p at 4,631p.

Meanwhile, at GlaxoSmithKline's annual general meeting yesterday, its chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, told shareholders that GSK will continue to "watch as bystanders to see what happens with AstraZeneca".

He claimed the company "doesn't believe in big industry-transforming bids" because they can lead to "destructive consequences".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
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