Monday, 19 May 2014
Pfizer in new offer for AstraZeneca takeover !
US drugs giant Pfizer has made an improved offer for the UK's AstraZeneca as it bids to tie up the largest takeover in British business history.
The new offer of £55 per share would value AstraZeneca at about £69bn.
Pfizer plans to create the world's largest drug company, with its headquarters in New York, but based in the UK for tax purposes.
That plan has proved controversial with unions and politicians, with 6,700 UK jobs at stake.
In a grilling from MPs last week, AstraZeneca's French boss Pascal Soriot argued a takeover would harm its development of life-saving cancer drugs.
The government has powers to veto certain deals, such as those involving defence and media companies, and apply a "public interest test". But this is rare, and its scope to intervene is also limited by the European Commission.
The backlash has even extended to the US, where Senators Carl Levin and Roy Wyden are looking to close the tax loophole that Pfizer plans to use.
In a strategy known as "tax inversion" Pfizer could pay the UK corporate tax rate of 20%, rather than the 35% rate applied in the US, if it bought AstraZeneca.
Unions and academics have been vocal in their unease with the US firm's plan.
More on this story here.