From tomorrow, Pfizer will once more be able to make a take-over bid for AstraZeneca, after a “final rejection” in May meant it could not approach the UK pharmaceutical firm for six months.
The offer was worth £55 per share, valuing AstraZeneca at approximately £69bn. But it was not accepted, on the ground that the proposal “undervalued the company and its attractive prospects.”
Now that the cooling off period is coming to an end, what is the likelihood that a bid will be made once more? According to industry figures who spoke to the FT, the chances are slim – they placed them at between 10 and 20 per cent.
To begin with, a recent government clampdown on tax inversions has significantly reduced the saving Pfizer could make by relocating its tax home to the UK.
Additionally, even if Pfizer did make an offer, it seems increasingly unlikely that AstraZeneca would agree to it – according to chief executive Pascal Soriot, it has a number of new medicines in the pipeline including 14 going through their final stages of testing.
And in a statement released earlier this month, he revealed that the company's revenues had grown by five per cent to $6.54bn (£4.09bn) during the third quarter, beating analyst expectations of £4.08bn.
“We have rapidly strengthened and accelerated our pipeline, established strong momentum behind our growth platforms and are creating significant value for patients and shareholders,” he said.
“We are building a sustainable, more durable and profitable company. The tangible results being delivered reinforce our confidence that we will achieve our target of delivering revenues of over $45 billion by 2023.”
The company's performance since the rejection in May has pleased healthcare investors, with share price being consistently higher since then.