Pfizer eyes up AZ again

AstraZeneca shares climbed more than 7% last week, fuelled by speculation of renewed takeover interest from Pfizer.
It’s three months since Pfizer’s failed £69.4bn takeover attempt, and under takeover rules AstraZeneca would now be allowed to invite Pfizer back to the negotiating table, or the US company could make one fresh offer in private.
Pfizer’s chief executive Ian Read has said he is still considering big deals to revive his firm’s pipeline. However, Pfizer cannot take the initiative and launch a public bid until November 26 – six months from when it walked away after AstraZeneca rejected its last offer.
The one factor that could force AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot back to the table this month would be sustained pressure from his shareholders, a number of whom are disgruntled that he let Pfizer’s offer slip away. Yet there has been no high-profile investor rebellion so far.
Dan Mahony, a fund manager at Polar Capital, who increased his stake in AstraZeneca last year, told Reuters: “I know the stock is rallying on anticipation but I suspect if anything is going to happen it is more likely to happen in November or December.”
AstraZeneca is closing it’s Alderley Park research base and moving to Cambridge. 700 staff will be retained at Alderley, down from 3,600, but these will be administrative roles. AZ also has 2,000 employees at its manufacturing plant in Macclesfield.

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