AstraZeneca speaks out: Pfizer bid "undervalued" company

Harriet Green
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AstraZeneca has responded to the announcement from Pfizer this morning regarding a second takeover bid from the US pharma giant.

The UK firm has said that the initial bid, made by Pfizer in January, “very significantly undervalued” it and its prospects. It was also concerned about the size of the share component of the bid, and the risks involved in restructuring:

The Board highlighted its concerns regarding the proposed transaction structure, which contained a large proportion of the consideration in Pfizer shares.

The Board [of AstraZeneca] also raised certain concerns regarding the execution risks associated with the proposed inversion structure, as Pfizer would redomicile to the UK for tax purposes.

Pfizer said this morning that AstraZeneca shareholders would see “a significant premium” on the price of shares as of 17 April (£38.81), should a takeover be agreed on.

But AstraZeneca’s board states it remains confident in the ongoing execution of the company’s strategy “as an independent company” and that its “successful delivery will create significant value for shareholders”. In terms of its statement today and the bid’s future, it said:

This statement is being made by AstraZeneca without prior agreement or approval of Pfizer. There can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.

Pfizer’s announcement this morning prompted AstraZeneca stock to leap 15 per cent.

This morning, Pfizer’s chief executive Ian Read said there’s a “compelling” case for merging the two companies, adding that AstraZeneca shareholders might not be aware that the US firm generated $51.6bn in revenues last year.

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