Astra rebuffs 'final' Pfizer bid

US drugs giant Pfizer's attempt to takeover AstraZeneca has come to a dead-end.

US pharmaceutical group Pfizer appears to have lost the battle for Anglo-Swedish rival AstraZeneca. The firm's final offer of £55 per share was rejected by Astra's board as inadequate.

Unless shareholders put pressure on the board to reconsider before the deadline of 26 May, Pfizer will have to wait three months to make a higher offer with Astra's approval, or six months if it wants to mount a hostile bid.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

What the commentators said

A bid of £60 might well have tipped the balance, but by tabling a "take-it-or-leave-it" bid and urging Astra's shareholders to revolt, the firm badly miscalculated.

"Pfizer has a risky way back into a deal," said Chris Hughes on Breakingviews.com. It has the right to raise its final price if the offer is accepted, so it could signal to Astra's board that if Astra were to accept £55, Pfizer would immediately significantly increase it.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

But the Takeover Panel, which oversees deals in the UK, would not be keen on an attempt to bend the rules and might well block the bid.

So could Pfizer return in six months? Probably not, said Kamal Ahmed on BBC.co.uk. By then, "AstraZeneca shareholders believe the US government will have gone a long way to closing the tax loophole which was one of the reasons for Pfizer being so attracted to AstraZeneca." The bid seems to be dead.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/517688/the-british-equity-market-is-shrinking
Stock markets

The British equity market is shrinking

British startups are abandoning public stockmarkets and turning to deep-pocketed Silicon Valley venture capitalists for their investment needs.
8 Nov 2019
Visit/511212/reasons-for-investors-to-be-bearish-but-stick-with-the-stockmarket-bulls
Stock markets

There are lots of reasons to be bearish – but you should stick with the bulls

There are plenty of reasons to be gloomy about the stockmarkets. But the trend remains up, says Dominic Frisby. And you don’t want to bet against the …
17 Jul 2019
Visit/510684/good-news-on-jobs-scares-stockmarkets
Economy

Good news on jobs scares US stockmarkets

June brought the best monthly US jobs growth of the year, but stockmarkets were not best pleased.
11 Jul 2019
Visit/510135/trade-war-ceasefire-boosts-stockmarkets
Economy

Trade-war ceasefire boosts stockmarkets

Stockmarkets sighed with relief after the G20 summit in Japan brought a handshake between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
4 Jul 2019

Most Popular

Visit/investments/stocks-and-shares/600863/sirius-minerals-anglo-american-takeover
Stocks and shares

Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now

Mining giant Anglo American has proposed a cash takeover of Yorkshire-based minnow Sirius Minerals. Unhappy shareholders must decide whether to accept…
20 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/600874/gold-is-at-its-highest-level-in-years-heres-how-to-invest
Gold

Gold is at its highest level in years – here’s how to invest

Gold's rise at a time when the dollar is unnervingly strong isn't unheard of – but it is curious. John Stepek explains what's going on, and what it me…
21 Feb 2020
Visit/economy/uk-economy/600862/britains-economy-might-spring-a-surprise-on-the-doomsayers-this-year
UK Economy

Britain’s economy might spring a surprise on the doomsayers this year

The UK economy is looking pretty good – we’re more at risk of a boom than a bust, says John Stepek. Here’s why, and what it means for your portfolio.
20 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/european-stockmarkets/600725/is-2020-the-year-for-european-small-cap
Sponsored

Is 2020 the year for European small-cap stocks?

SPONSORED CONTENT - Ollie Beckett, manager of the TR European Growth Trust, on why he believes European small-cap stocks are performing well.
12 Feb 2019