Drugs giant proposes to take over British rival

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DRUGS giant Pfizer has publicly disclosed details of a multi-billion pound bid approach for UK rival AstraZeneca.

The American firm, whose UK subsidiary has a global supply (manufacturing & distribution) base in Havant, revealed it had been rebuffed by Astra after initial talks in January valuing the company at £58.7 billion, and added that further overtures this weekend were also rejected.

But it confirmed its ‘continuing interest’ in its target, saying it offered shareholders a significant premium to the share price.

The company disclosed that a cash-and-share proposal at the start of the year had been made at 4661p per share.

Pfizer said: ‘We have great respect for AstraZeneca and its proud heritage as an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a rich science-based foundation in both the United Kingdom and Sweden.

‘In addition, the United Kingdom has created attractive incentives for companies to manufacture products and maintain and protect intellectual property, and we have seen that capital and jobs have followed these types of incentives.

‘We believe patients all over the globe would benefit from our shared commitment to R&D, which is critical to the future success of the pharmaceutical industry, in the form of potential new therapies that help to fight some of the world’s most feared diseases, such as cancer.’

Astra shares soared by 14 per cent or 569.25p to 4649.25p and have now increased in value by nearly a quarter, or around £11 billion, since before the takeover speculation began.