By Daniel Hunter
UK drugs firm, AstraZeneca, has rejected a 'final offer' from US rivals, Pfizer, worth £69bn.
Pfizer offered £55 per share which valued the offer at a total of around £69bn. But AstraZeneca said the offers "undervalues the company and its attractive prospects".
Pfizer's proposed takeover of the UK firm has been under scrutiny over fears that it may not be in the UK public's interest.
It even sparked political involvement as the bosses of both firms were called to face a committee of MPs.
AstraZeneca had rejected two earlier bids, claiming the offers undervalued the business. Pfizer made some guarantees in order to persuade AstraZeneca and the government. It promised to maintain 20% of its global research & development (R&D) workforce in the UK for five years.
But the Business Select Committee seemed unimpressed by the guarantee. MPs were told by the Unite and GMB unions that a guarantee of 10, 20 or 30 years is usually and industry standard.
And when quizzed on Pfizer's guarantees, its chief executive Ian Read was unable to say whether or not that would result in job cuts.
During questioning, AstraZeneca chief executive, Pascal Soriot, added another reason for rejecting the bids. He said that AstraZeneca is close to developing two cancer drugs that are likely to be used for patients. He said the proposed takeover would disrupt the development of "potentially life saving drugs".
The committee of MPs suggested that Pfizer was looking for financial gains, rather than dedicating itself to science. AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson said: "Pfizer has failed to make a compelling strategic, business or value case."
In its new offer, Ian Read said: "We stand by our unprecedented commitments to the UK government."
Mr Read also confirmed that this was a "final" offer, and said Pfizer would not mount a hostile takeover.
It's likely this will be the end of the road for Pfizer's hopes of buying AstraZeneca. Once the bid is officially abandoned, Pfizer cannot make another for six months. By that time, it's likely the US will have worked to close the tax loophole which has been a key attraction for Pfizer.
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