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Pfizer Abandons AstraZeneca Takeover Bid

May 26, 2014
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer abandons its controversial bid to acquire British rival AstraZeneca after its final $117 billion offer was rejected last week.

NEW YORK – U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (IW 500/22) said on Monday it had abandoned its controversial bid to acquire British rival AstraZeneca (IW 1000/57) after its final $117 billion offer was rejected last week.

The announcement was the latest twist to a long-running saga that drew widespread attention over fears that British jobs and research capability would be lost and accusations that the tie-up was a cynical ploy by Pfizer to pay less tax.

Pfizer's takeover would have been the biggest deal of its kind in the pharmaceutical industry.

"Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an offer for AstraZeneca," the New York-based company said in a statement.

But analysts have expressed skepticism that Soriot's forecasts will prove accurate, speculating that AstraZeneca's sales by 2023 would remain in the range of $28 billion to $31 billion.

Pfizer's play for AstraZeneca comes as global pharmaceutical giants maneuver to cope with lost revenues from public-sector cutbacks in health care and patent expirations.

But Pfizer's withdrawal does not necessarily signal the end of the company's pursuit of AstraZeneca, although under British law the U.S. company must now wait six months before tabling another offer.

It could also make a higher bid in three months if AstraZeneca's board agrees to a fresh round of takeover talks.

Monday's developments did not immediately impact the U.S. and London stock markets, which were closed due to holidays. Pfizer's share price had slipped by 0.6% in Friday's trade to $29.49.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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