Pfizer confirms takeover interest in AstraZeneca

 
Harriet Green
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US drugs maker Pfizer has confirmed it’s approached UK rival AstraZeneca regarding a possible takeover bid. Shares in the latter have leapt 15 per cent on the announcement.

Pfizer says the deal would "bring together highly complementary businesses, enhancing the combined company's ability to meet patients' needs."

Shareholders would see “a significant premium” on the price of shares as of 17 April, including a "substantial" cash component. It added:

Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer shareholders would be expected to participate in short, medium and long-term value creation through enhanced pipeline development opportunities, premier global operations and the anticipated realisation of operational and financial synergies.

Pfizer reportedly approached AstraZeneca with a £60bn bid three months ago but was knocked back. Talks have, however, been reinitiated over the past few days because of “recent market developments”.

AstraZeneca’s market value is £51.5bn, with around 6,700 people employed by the firm in the UK. A merger would create a company worth around £150bn.

Any new company, Pfizer said, would be based in Britain.

Ian Read, chairman and chief executive of Pfizer commented:

We have great respect for AstraZeneca and its proud heritage as an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a rich science-based foundation in both the United Kingdom and Sweden.

In addition, the United Kingdom has created attractive incentives for companies to manufacture products and maintain and protect intellectual property, and we have seen that capital and jobs have followed these types of incentives.

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