US-based drug maker Pfizer has confirmed that it has contacted AstraZeneca seeking to renew discussions over a possible £60bn takeover.
The discussions are regarding developing a proposal by both companies that could be recommended to their shareholders.
In January, UK-based AstraZeneca discontinued talks with Pfizer regarding its initial approach over the acquisition.
AstraZeneca has again declined to have been engaged in discussions with Pfizer, which has officially confirmed that it currently is considering options with respect to the UK firm.
Pfizer’s previous proposal made on 5 January included a combination of cash and shares in the combined entity, which represented an indicative value of £46.61 per AstraZeneca share and a substantial premium of about 30% to AstraZeneca’s closing share price of £35.86 on 3 January.
According to Pfizer, it is now considering a possible transaction where AstraZeneca shareholders would again receive a significant premium above the value of their shares as on 17 April.
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Pfizer chairman and CEO Ian Read said: "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."
According to Pfizer, if the transaction materialises, the combined company would have management in both the US and the UK, but would list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The transaction is expected to bring together highly complementary and established pharmaceutical businesses, improving the combined company’s ability to meet patients’ needs.
The merger with AstraZeneca would improve Pfizer’s offering in oncology, immunology, cardiovascular and diabetes products.
Read said the combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca could further enhance the ability to create value for shareholders of both companies and bring an expanded portfolio of important treatments to patients.
"The combination would complement our two innovative businesses and our global established pharmaceutical business, allowing us to maintain the flexibility for the potential future separation of our businesses. whilst at the same time broadening our pipeline breadth and potential new product launches over coming years," Read added.
Image: Pfizer world headquarters. Photo: courtesy of Jim.henderson.