LONDON: British drugmaker AstraZeneca on Monday rejected a final $117-billion takeover bid from US rival Pfizer, appearing to put an end to the saga.
Pfizer had lodged a fourth and final offer worth 85 billion euros or £69 billion on Sunday, pitched at £55 per share, adding it would not proceed without a recommendation from management.
Monday’s announcement sent AstraZeneca’s share price tumbling by as much as 15 percent in morning deals.
It later pulled back to stand at £43.09, down 10.66 percent from Friday’s close. London’s FTSE 100 index was 0.65-percent lower at 6,811.25 points.
The US giant’s bid was aimed at strengthening its research in cancer and slashing its tax bill, but opponents argued that jobs might have been cut in Britain and vital research eventually scaled back if the takeover occurred.
“We have rejected Pfizer’s final proposal because it is inadequate and would present significant risks for shareholders, while also having serious consequences for the company, our employees and the life-sciences sector in the UK, Sweden and the US,” said AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson.
Deal ‘motivated by tax’
He also attacked Pfizer’s controversial plan to re-domicile the combined company in Britain for tax purposes, in a move that would help it avoid paying billions of dollars in tax to the US government.
“Pfizer’s approach throughout its pursuit of AstraZeneca appears to have been fundamentally driven by the corporate financial benefits to its shareholders of cost savings and tax minimization,” added Johansson.
Pfizer has stated that the combined company would deliver an expanded product pipeline, deep potential cost cuts and significant tax savings from making Britain its home base for tax purposes.
“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 added.
“The board is firm in its conviction as to the appropriate terms to recommend to shareholders.”