Q and A: Why has there been no statement from AstraZeneca?

Q I want to know what’s going on at AstraZeneca – can’t someone make the company tell us?

A Yes. The Takeover Panel is in charge of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers, which tries to make sure shareholders get a fair deal during a bid. It has a clear set of rules that define when a firm must update investors on what’s going on behind the scenes.

Q What sort of criteria does the Takeover Panel set?

A Firms must declare when they get a bid, when an investor buids a stake forcing it to bid, and sometimes when a firm “is the subject of rumour and speculation or there is an untoward movement in its share price.”

Q Everyone has been talking about Astra, and its shares are up. Why no statement? AIt could be there’s nothing to report. After shares moved it’s likely the Takeover Panel nudged AZ to respond – or asked for a good reason why it hadn’t. No talks plus no bid means no statement.

Q How about Pfizer?

A If the US giant rules out an intention to bid at this stage, it won’t be allowed to return with a fresh offer for at least six months. If a return is on the cards, it’s in Pfizer’s interests to stay below the radar now.