Pfizers pursuit of AstraZeneca may be drawing to a close. On Monday, AstraZeneca rejected Pfizers latest and what it described as its final takeover bid.
In recent weeks Pfizer has made repeated approaches to AstraZeneca, both privately and publicly, and the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has rebuffed them all as too low.
The latest offer, made Sunday evening, was worth about $119 billion. On Monday, AstraZeneca said the increased bid undervalues the company and its attractive prospects.
Pfizer, which began its pursuit of a merger last year, has said it will not make a hostile bid for AstraZeneca. Under British takeover rules, Pfizer was given until May 26 to decide whether to make a formal offer or walk away.
A Pfizer spokesman said Monday that the company was evaluating its options after the latest rejection.
Leif Johansson, the AstraZeneca chairman, said in a statement that Pfizer’s pursuit all along appeared to have been fundamentally driven by the corporate financial benefits to its shareholders of cost savings and tax minimization.
``From our first meeting in January to our latest discussion yesterday, and in the numerous phone calls in between, Pfizer has failed to make a compelling strategic, business or value case,’’ Johansson said. The board is firm in its conviction as to the appropriate terms to recommend to shareholders.
Sundays offer represented a 45 per cent premium over AstraZenecas share price before news of Pfizer’s interest became public in April and came after a previous offer by Pfizer late Friday. The latest proposal would have given AstraZeneca shareholders 1.747 shares of the combined company, and 24.76 pounds in cash for each of their shares. The offer valued each share of AstraZeneca at about 55 pounds ($92.50). AstraZeneca, which has an attractive portfolio of cancer drugs, has repeatedly said that it could continue to operate as a stand-alone company and had recently talked about the positive results of several clinical trials in an effort to highlight its prospects.
Pfizer, the maker of best-selling drugs like Lipitor and Viagra, has raised questions about AstraZenecas prospects as a stand-alone concern, and vowed to keep jobs in Britain in a bid to persuade British politicians to support the transaction. If completed, the deal would be one of the largest acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry, surpassing Pfizer’s takeover of Warner-Lambert 14 years ago. That deal was valued at $90 billion. — New York Times News Service