AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s ‘final’ takeover bid

    Drugmaker AstraZeneca has once again rebuffed its longtime suitor, Pfizer.

    Talks seem to be stalled over the proposed mega-merger, which could impact thousand of workers in the Philadelphia region. AstraZeneca employs 2,600 workers in Delaware, according to the state’s economic development office.

    Pfizer has been eyeing an AstraZeneca takeover for months.

    George Chressanthis, professor of health care management and marketing at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, said he thinks the delicate dance between the pharmaceutical giants is over — for now.

    “Pfizer has said that they are not going to do a hostile takeover without AZ-board approval,” Chressanthis said.

    AstraZeneca is a British company with its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington. Pfizer is based New York. It has a large facility in Collegeville, Pa.

    Chressanthis said Pfizer has faced criticism that its merger talks are largely motivated by a desire to limit its U.S. tax burden.

    “I think Pfizer doesn’t want to ruffle these feathers any further, which could have implications down the road with other things that require good will from both the U.K. and U.S. political authorities,” Chressanthis said.

    AstraZeneca said ‘no’ Pfizer’s latest — and supposedly final offer — of $119 billion. Pfizer said via press release it will not try to sidestep the AstraZeneca board and take its pitch directly to shareholders.

    Many locals in the region may be relieved. State officials in Delaware have voiced concern that a Pfizer takeover would lead to deep job cuts at AstraZeneca’s sites in the First State.

    Alan Levin, Delaware’s economic development director, is among those who’ve closely followed the merger talks.

    “AstraZeneca has been a wonderful employer in this state,” he said. “We want them to be the survivor in this deal.”

     

    Disclosure: AstraZeneca supports WHYY’s The Pulse.

     

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