Pfizer Confirms Interest in AstraZeneca
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After limited high-level discussions, AstraZeneca declined to pursue negotiations. The discussions were discontinued on 14 January 2014 and Pfizer then ceased to consider a possible transaction. In light of recent market developments, Pfizer contacted AstraZeneca on 26 April 2014 seeking to renew discussions in order to develop a proposal that could be recommended by both companies to their shareholders. AstraZeneca again declined to engage. Pfizer is currently considering its options with respect to AstraZeneca.
Pfizer’s previous proposal made to the board of AstraZeneca on 5 January 2014 included a combination of cash and shares in the combined entity which represented an indicative value of £46.61 ($76.62)1 per AstraZeneca share and a substantial premium of approximately 30% to AstraZeneca’s closing share price of £35.86 on 3 January 2014.
As in its previous proposal, Pfizer is considering a possible transaction in which AstraZeneca shareholders would receive a significant premium for their AstraZeneca shares, to be paid in a combination of cash and shares in the combined entity. Pfizer believes that a transaction, if proposed and consummated, would offer AstraZeneca shareholders a highly compelling opportunity to realise a significant premium to the undisturbed AstraZeneca share price as of 17 April 2014, which includes a substantial cash payment. AstraZeneca shareholders would become significant shareholders in the combined company and participate in significant value creation opportunities, including benefiting from the potential growth opportunities and operational and financial synergies that the combination of two complementary global pharmaceutical companies would be expected to generate. Pfizer is confident a combination is capable of being consummated. The transaction, if consummated, is expected to result in the combination of the two companies under a new U.K.-incorporated holding company. As a global corporation, Pfizer would expect the combined company to have management in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and to maintain head offices in New York and list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The making of any firm offer by Pfizer would be subject to the following pre-conditions (which may be waived in whole or in part by Pfizer):
• Satisfactory completion of a customary due diligence review by Pfizer;
• Unanimous recommendation by the directors of AstraZeneca to vote in favour of the combination; and
• The directors of AstraZeneca giving irrevocable undertakings to accept any offer in respect of their AstraZeneca shares.
Commenting on the possible transaction, Ian Read, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said:
“We have great respect for AstraZeneca and its proud heritage as an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a rich science-based foundation in both the United Kingdom and Sweden. In addition, 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.
“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. A potential combination with AstraZeneca aligns with Pfizer’s current structure and fully supports its existing strategy to build world-class businesses. 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. We believe that a transaction would further strengthen our ability to generate strong and consistent cash flow, targeted for both investment in our business and return to shareholders, while at the same time offering an efficient operating structure and the anticipated realization of attractive synergies.
“As always, we continue to focus on value creation and will be disciplined in our approach to capital deployment. Pfizer has a proven track record of successful acquisitions and, if a transaction were consummated, would use its extensive integration experience to support a successful combination of the businesses and focus on delivering value to shareholders.”