Pfizer Said to Be Considering Rising AstraZeneca Bid – PFE

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE) is considering raising its bid for Britain’s second-biggest pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Pfizer and its advisers are still hoping to get AstraZeneca into negotiations before May 26, which is the date by which Pfizer is required to either make a new offer for the London-based rival or walk away. AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer’s second bid on May 2, which was raised to $106 billion from about $99 billion and made up of 32% cash and the rest in stock.

But the report said that “the gap in pricing the company between the two sides” remains “significant”, suggesting Pfizer will have to make a sizeable jump in price to bring AstraZeneca management to the table. The report notes however, that the U.S. group has not ruled out a hostile takeover attempt in the $100 billion-plus range by bringing its bid directly to AstraZeneca’s shareholders.

“Going hostile is the least favorite option but taking the offer direct to shareholders is a possibility,” one source was quoted as saying to the publication.

Obviously, Pfizer would prefer a friendly takeover since its unsolicited acquisition bid already has attracted political scrutiny in the U.S. and U.K.

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