Pfizer’s been hot to acquire AstraZeneca since January. After a controversial courtship and billion-dollar dowry, the New York-based company has finally accepted the British company’s “Thanks, but no thanks.”
US drugmaker Pfizer said Monday it is calling off its controversial bid to acquire British rival AstraZeneca. The announcement came after a 69.4 billion-pound ($116.8 billion) offer rejected by AstraZeneca last week.
“Following the AstraZeneca board’s rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an offer for AstraZeneca,” Pfizer said in a statement.
Pfizer CEO Ian Read said his company’s last offer represented what he believed to be the full value of the company.
Leif Johansson, chairman of AstraZeneca, said he was pleased with the retreat.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated as an independent company,” Johansson said.
Pfizer’s climb down ends a protracted courtship which created fears that jobs and research facilities in Britain would be sacrificed if the takeover went through. Pfizer also hoped to relocate a merged company to Britain for tax purposes, saving billions in US taxes.
Pfizer, which makes Lipitor and Viagra, has said that it would not make a hostile takeover bid by going directly to AstraZeneca shareholders.
The squashed bid comes in the middle of a global restructuring of the pharmaceutical sector, as companies scramble to deal with patent expirations and lower spending on healthcare by governments worldwide.
kpc/cjc (Reuters, AP, AFP)