Pfizer says it could up bid if AstraZeneca engaged in talks

13th May 2014

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Pfizer says it could raise its proposed £63bn offer if AstraZeneca’s management was prepared to engage in talks. However Pfizer  chief executive Ian Read, speaking to MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee, has also refused to rule out a hostile bid. Read has pledged to retain a fifth of research jobs in Britain, but he said he not commit to maintaining a specific R&D budget.

“We’ll be efficient by some reduction in jobs. What I cannot tell you is how much or how many or where. We’ll look at this as our global combined footprint and then we’ll make decisions,” he said.

Pfizer also warned that AstraZeneca could struggle in a challenging market without Pfizer’s support.

In a statement earlier today, Pfizer said that working with the UK company’s board could help deliver “optimal deal terms” which AstraZeneca could recommend to its shareholders.

“Engagement would provide AstraZeneca management with the opportunity to provide Pfizer a better understanding of the business and its prospects, and the credible basis for their new long-range targets, it said though it added that Pfizer will continue to be disciplined on price.”

Pascal Soriot, the chief executive of AstraZeneca has said a merger of this size would be a distraction and could even lead to delays in some drugs coming to market. However he was unable to rule out accepting any revised offer citing his fiduciary duty to shareholders.

He told MPs that “It’s impossible to say we would never accept any offer.”

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