Pfizer Abandons AstraZeneca Takeover Bid After Rejection


Pfizer Inc. (PFE) abandoned its effort to buy AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) for 69.4 billion pounds ($117 billion) in what would have been the biggest deal ever in the drug industry.

The offer represented “full value” for AstraZeneca, the New York-based drugmaker said in a statement today. AstraZeneca said it welcomed “the opportunity to continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated.”

Under U.K. takeover rules, Pfizer had until 5 p.m. London time today to make a firm offer. The regulations require a cooling-off period of at least three months before talks can restart, giving both drugmakers time to figure out their next move. Pfizer is hoping AstraZeneca investors will pressure the company’s board to come back to the table, while AstraZeneca may seek a revenue-generating acquisition of its own to help it fend off the larger company.

“The probability of a future AstraZeneca acquisition is dimmed, but not entirely extinguished,” said Mark Purcell, an analyst with Barclays Plc, in a note to clients.

By Drew Armstrong and Oliver Staley,  May 26, 2014

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