posted by Phill Allen
May, 02nd, 2014
British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biologics company, AstraZeneca, has rejected an improved takeover bid from Pfizer.
AstraZeneca, which employs 6,700 in the UK, took less than a few hours to turn down Pfizer’s raised offer of £50 a share.
The company said the new terms “substantially undervalue AstraZeneca and are not a basis on which to engage with Pfizer”.
Pfizer, the US maker of Viagra, upped its previous offer. Ian Read, Pfizer chairman and chief executive, described the latest bid as “responsive to the views of AstraZeneca shareholders”.
“There is a highly compelling strategic, business and financial rationale for combining our businesses, with significant benefits for shareholders and stakeholders of both companies,” Mr Read said, announcing the amended deal.
Heather Self, a tax expert at Pinsent Masons, told the BBC that Pfizer, by placing a UK company atop of the group, was looking to take the company outside the US tax system.
US federal corporation tax stands at 35%. In the UK, the rate is 21% and is due to be cut to 20% in 2015.
But Ms Self doubted that a notable tax gain for the UK would be on the cards. “All it will mean is moving a few senior people here and having a few board meetings here. It doesn’t mean anything for the UK tax industry,” she said.
Pfizer says it has now taken the issue to the doorstep of Prime Minister David Cameron. In a statement, Downing Street said the Government would “look at this very carefully”.
But Labour shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, voiced concerns over job security for AstraZeneca 6,700 staff in the UK.
“Pfizer has a very poor record on previous acquisitions,” he warned. “Do we really want a jewel in the crown of British industry, our second biggest pharmaceutical firm, to basically be seen as an instrument of tax planning?”
Earlier in the week, Pfizer confirmed that it had originally made an unsuccessful takeover approach in January worth £46.61 a share.
Should the two pharmaceutical giants find common ground, the deal would represent the biggest acquisition of a UK firm by a foreign company.
AstraZeneca, Biopharmaceutical, Pfizer,
An in and outside the (bioprocess) box thinker, fluid management specialist Phill knows a thing or two about keeping pharma liquid logistics flowing.