Date
17 December 2017
AstraZeneca avoided a takeover by Pfizer by running out the clock under British takeover rules. Photo: Bloomberg
AstraZeneca avoided a takeover by Pfizer by running out the clock under British takeover rules. Photo: Bloomberg

Pfizer ends AstraZeneca chase but leaves options open

Pfizer Inc. ended its chase of British rival AstraZeneca Plc. after Monday’s deadline for an agreement lapsed, but chairman and chief executive Ian Read did not rule out another takeover attempt.

Pfizer, which had been targeting AstraZeneca since November in an effort to create the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company, last proposed a deal valued at US$120 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

But AstraZeneca held out until Monday’s deadline for an agreement lapsed. Under British takeover rules, Pfizer could submit another offer in six months.

AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson said the company is confident about its growth prospects, especially amid a growing pipeline of experimental drugs.

AstraZeneca is expected to move quickly to protect the stock which has an elevated valuation, partly due to Pfizer’s bidding for the company, and fend off another unwanted approach.

It recently hired Centerview Partners LLC to advise it on potential deals, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

AstraZeneca has said it is exploring options for its antibiotics and neuroscience units and may seek partners for its cancer drugs.

Meanwhile, Read said Pfizer would look at deals that would strengthen its core areas including vaccines, cancer, inflammation, heart disease and pain.

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