Pfizer retreats after dropping Astrazeneca takeover approach

Michael Bow
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US DRUG giant Pfizer last night dropped its controversial £69bn takeover approach for Astrazeneca, banning the company from making another offer for the UK-based firm until the end of November.

Astrazeneca had effectively confirmed the death of a deal last week by turning down a £55 a share final offer, despite some shareholders favouring a deal.

The deal would have been the largest takeover of a UK company by a foreign buyer in history if it had completed.

Under takeover rules, Pfizer is banned from making another offer for six months, although Astrazeneca can choose to re-engage after three months.

“We continue to believe that our final proposal was compelling and represented full value for Astrazeneca based on the information that was available to us,” Pfizer boss Ian Read said. “We will continue our focus on the execution of our plans.” Astra chair Leif Johansson said: “We welcome the opportunity to continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated as an independent company.”

The approach had prompted a political furore in Westminster, with Read and Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot hauled in front of MPs. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna welcomed the outcome of events yesterday.