Pfizer drops AstraZeneca takeover bid

AstraZeneca and Pfizer logos

Related Stories

US drugs giant Pfizer has withdrawn its £55 a share, £69bn takeover bid for UK pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

It said: "Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an offer."

AstraZeneca's chairman, Leif Johansson, said it would "continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated as an independent company."

AstraZeneca had fiercely resisted the bid, backed by some politicians.

It rejected a final offer from Pfizer earlier this month, saying the proposal undervalued the company and its "attractive prospects".

Nevertheless, in recent weeks some AstraZeneca shareholders had said they wanted the firm to engage with Pfizer.

But Mr Johansson said: "We have attractive growth prospects and a rapidly progressing pipeline. In the coming months we anticipate positive news flow across our core therapeutic areas, which underpins our confidence in the long-term prospects of the business."

New bid?

Pfizer had until Monday evening to make any further move under a strict timetable allowed for takeovers of public companies.

These same rules mean Pfizer must now wait six months before making a fresh bid for AstraZeneca, unless invited to do so by the company.

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.

However, if AstraZeneca's board has a complete change of mind about the offer it could invite Pfizer to talks in three months' time.

The Unite union said that the company's independence was not secure and the government should act to protect certain businesses: "We expect that there will be renewed pressure on shareholders over the coming months with the likelihood that Pfizer could be back in its attempts to take over AstraZeneca.

"The government needs to use this time to intervene and put a public interest test in place for proposed takeovers of this size, just as other governments do, such as the French which has strengthened its powers to act to protect strategic industries."

Divided opinion

Pfizer encountered opposition to its bid on a number of fronts.

Its chairman, Ian Read, spent two days being questioned by MPs on both the Commons Business Select Committee and the Science Committee, as well as doing the rounds to win over major shareholders.

He gave a five-year pledge on UK jobs and facilities, promising to complete an AstraZeneca research centre in Cambridge and keep a factory in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

The president of the Royal Society, Professor Sir Paul Nurse - one of Britain's most prominent scientists - said Pfizer's commitments to maintain research and jobs should it take over AstraZeneca were "vague" and insufficient.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said assurances given by Pfizer about safeguarding research and preserving jobs at AstraZeneca were "worthless".

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "neutral" about the proposed bid.

However, investors including BlackRock, Legal & General, Axa and Schroders made it clear that they wanted the company to engage with Pfizer, although other leading investment groups were against a bid at the price offered.

Many view the price per share offered as a few pounds too low; a figure of above £58 may have been enough to get the bid agreed by shareholders.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    PARIS MOTOR SHOW 09:22:
    Paris Motor Show 2014

    This should be good. Our coverage of the Paris Motor Show starts on Thursday. The BBC's Theo Leggett and Russell Hotten will be there. Visit BBC Business for news, insight and analysis.

     
  2.  
    PARIS MOTOR SHOW 09:07: Radio 5 live
    Paris Motor Show 2014

    The Paris Motor Show opens today. Maxime Picat, chief executive of the Peugeot brand, is on Radio 5 live. He trumpets "impressive" growth in China where Peugeot is the fastest-growing car maker. But, he concedes that electric cars have been disappointing. He doesn't expect significant expansion of that market until the 2020s.

     
  3.  
    SUPERMARKETS 08:56:

    Supermarkets are now the top three losers on the FTSE 100.

     
  4.  
    SAINSBURY'S RESULTS 08:52: Via Email John Ibbotson, Director, Retail Vision

    "With these results, it's increasingly clear Mike Coupe took the hospital pass just like Philip Clarke. Who needs Sainsbury's, or Waitrose even, when you can get £9.99 Beluga Caviar at Aldi?"

     
  5.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:33:

    London's FTSE 100 benchmark index fell 0.15% to 6,613.03 points, led lower by supermarket Morrisons, which has dipped 2.9%.

     
  6.  
    MOD CONTRACT 08:28:
    HMS Daring

    It's the second biggest defence contract placed by the government. The MoD has awarded £3.2bn of contracts to run naval bases and maintain warships and submarines. Babcock wins £2.6bn to run Devonport and Clyde, BAE Systems gets £600m to manage Portsmouth Naval Base. Around 7,500 are employed to support 56 warships.

     
  7.  
    FRANCE BUDGET 08:15:
    Michel Sapin

    France's finance minister, Michel Sapin, has been presenting the nation's 2015 budget. He says the budget deficit will meet the European Union's target by 2017. France has made such promises before and then been forced to backtrack. Mr Sapin forecast a gradual economic recovery, with growth on 1.0% next year. Mr Sapin.

     
  8.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:02:

    After early gains, in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 index closed 0.6% lower at 16,082. Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed for a holiday. A report indicated modest expansion for China's manufacturing sector. The official purchasing managers' index for September came in at 51.1. Numbers above 50 suggest expansion.

     
  9.  
    SAINSBURY'S BOSS 07:52: Radio 5 live

    Tesco is in trouble over mis-stating its profits, how about Sainsbury's? Well Mike Coupe, Sainsbury's chief executive is "100% confident about the integrity of the accounts". He should know - he was finance director before becoming the boss.

     
  10.  
    SAINSBURY'S BOSS 07:46: Radio 5 live

    It is the most challenging environment in the supermarket industry for 30 years says Mike Coupe, Sainsbury's chief executive on Radio 5 live. There is food price deflation for the first time in a generation. Potatoes and milk are 20% cheaper from a year ago. That means customers on average are £5 a week better off he says.

     
  11.  
    CO-OP BANK ETHICS 07:34: BBC Radio 4

    Laura Carstensen, chair of Co-op Bank's Values and Ethics Committee is talking about the lender's new advertisement campaign. A man gets a tattoo about his commitment to Co-op's ethics. What does a fake tattoo say about the company's commitment to ethics, asks presenter Justin Rowlatt? Customers are savvy enough to understand the message, she says.

     
  12.  
    MINIMUM WAGE 07:26: BBC Breakfast
    BBC

    The minimum wage is most commonly paid in the hospitality, retail and care industries says Charlotte O'Brien a lawyer from York Law School on Breakfast. Many workers who think they are being paid less than minimum wage cannot afford to take their employer to an employment tribunal, she says. That's because they now have to pay £390 for a tribunal - or 60 hours work at £6.50 an hour.

     
  13.  
    SAINSBURY'S BOSS 07:21: BBC Radio 4
    CEO

    "It wouldn't be surprising in any business for us to try to sell more," says Sainsbury's chief Mike Coupe. He's talking about that gaffe earlier in the week, where a Sainsbury's store placed a motivational poster encouraging staff to get customers to spend an extra 50p in store, in the shop window. It was a simple mistake, he says.

     
  14.  
    HEADLINES
    • Tesco to be investigated by FCA over profit warning
    • Sainsbury's reports third quarter of falling sales
    • MOD awards £3.2bn naval base contracts
     
  15.  
    SAINSBURY'S BOSS 07:18: BBC Radio 4

    Mike Coupe is doing his first broadcast interview of the day on Today. In the last few months things have changed in the industry, he says. Customers are changing how they shop, he says. Is he worried about the fact Sainsbury's is the most short-sold (bet-against) stock on the FTSE 100, asks presenter Justin Rowlatt? "I'm a very calm individual," he says.

     
  16.  
    SAINSBURY'S RESULTS 07:11:

    Sainsbury's is not expecting sales to pick up in the rest of the financial year. Chief executive Mike Coupe says "we now expect our like-for-like sales in the second half of they year to be similar to the first half".

     
  17.  
    TESCO PROBE 07:05: Breaking News

    The Financial Conduct Authority will conduct a "full investigation" into Tesco's £250m overstatement of profits, the supermarket said.

     
  18.  
    SAINSBURY'S RESULTS 07:00: Breaking News

    Sainsbury's has reported a 2.8% decline in like-for-like sales in the second quarter, excluding fuel. That's the third consecutive quarter of falling sales.

     
  19.  
    CO-OP BANK ETHICS 06:45: Radio 5 live

    Oh dear. The chair of Co-operative Bank's ethical board, Laura Carstensen appears on Wake Up to Money. She can't name a single country with an oppressive regime that the bank has declined to do business with. She also does not want to talk about the bank's private equity owners, but says all investors realise that the bank's ethical values are what makes it different. Co-op bank launches an advertising campaign today to publicise its ethics.

     
  20.  
    SAINSBURY'S RESULTS 06:34: BBC Radio 4
    Sainsbury's store

    Sainsbury's releases results at 07:00. Sales are expected to be down 4%, says Bryan Roberts, from Kantar Retail on the Today programme. "What it reflects is we are in a zero-growth market. The pie isn't getting any bigger. Aldi and Lidl aggressively expanded in the South East and London," he says.

     
  21.  
    PENSIONS 06:28: Radio 5 live

    "People are getting it," says Tim Jones the chief executive of National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) on Wake Up to Money. It's been two years since the government launched automatic enrolment for workplace pension schemes. Only 8% of people are opting out, but a quarter of those aged between 60 and 65 are not taking up the offer. "Older folks are thinking it's too late," says Mr Jones.

     
  22.  
    DOLLAR YEN 06:19: Radio 5 live
    yen

    The dollar has hit a six-year high against the yen, trading above 110 yen. On Wake Up to Money the BBC's Rico Hizon says that there are expectations that the Bank of Japan will further ease monetary policy. Currency traders are also looking ahead to Friday's US employment report, which should give an indication of the strength of the US economy.

     
  23.  
    MINIMUM WAGE 06:11: Radio 5 live

    Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses says the raise in the minimum wage is still "realistic". But he wants a longer-term view of the wage. On Wake Up to Money he complains that business only gets six months notice of changes. He would like to the level to be set for a whole parliament.

     
  24.  
    MINIMUM WAGE 06:03: Radio 5 live
    Hand pennies

    From today the minimum wage rises 3% to £6.50. Conor D'Arcy, Policy Analyst at Resolution Foundation welcomes the move, until this raise the minimum wage was worth the same as it was in 2005, he says on Wake Up to Money.

     
  25.  
    06:01: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning. You can email us at bizlive@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcbusiness.

     
  26.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning everyone. This morning we are expecting an update from Sainsbury's on how trading has gone for them. The National Minimum Wage annual increase also takes effect, rising by 19p an hour to £6.50. Stay with us for more breaking news and analysis.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.