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UK’s AstraZeneca rejects US Pfizer’s final ‘undervaluing’ $117-billion takeover bid

British pharma major AstraZeneca on Monday rejected a higher ‘final proposal’ of $117 billion takeover by US firm Pfizer Inc, stating that it ‘undervalues the company’.

Pfizer Inc, the New York-based maker of blockbuster drugs such as Lipitor and Viagra, had made a final offer of 55 pounds a share to Astrazeneca on Friday, which was 15 per cent higher than its last bid, made on 2 May.Reacting to the final proposal, AstraZeneca said it undervalued the company and ‘its attractive prospects and has been rejected by the board of AstraZeneca’.

‘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,’ AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said in a statement. 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 minimisation, he added.
‘From our first meeting in January to our latest discussion     on Sunday, and in the numerous phone calls in between, Pfizer has failed to make a compelling strategic, business or value case,’ Johansson said.

He added that ‘the price at which the Board of AstraZeneca would be prepared to provide a recommendation would have to be more than 10 per cent above the level contained in Pfizer's Friday Proposal’.

On Sunday Pfizer had issued a statement making a final proposal under which AstraZeneca shareholders would receive, for each AstraZeneca share, 1.747 shares in the combined entity and 2,476 pence in cash, representing an indicative value of $92.53 per share.
The US firm had urged ‘supportive AstraZeneca shareholders to urge the AstraZeneca board to begin substantive engagement with Pfizer and extend the period for such talks prior to the May 26 deadline for making an offer’.

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Ian Read had said: ‘We believe our proposal is compelling for AstraZeneca's shareholders and that a Pfizer-AstraZeneca combination is in the best interests of all stakeholders.’
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