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from Breakingviews:

Failed bid would leave Astra under pressure

By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The likely failure of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s $119 billion bid for AstraZeneca, which was due to lapse on May 26, would leave the frustrated buyer no worse off. But the target has much to prove. Some of its shareholders welcomed a possible takeover - and could again.

Pfizer’s management looks foolish for failing to clinch a deal with its UK rival when the two sides were close on price. When Astra’s board asked for an increase of around 10 percent, and reassurance on Pfizer’s ability to close the deal, the U.S. group responded with a take-it-or-leave it proposal that Astra could not accept. The price fell short and there was silence on the broader concerns. Ian Read, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, made a major miscalculation, or was poorly advised, or both.

Astra remains under pressure. The board did its job in deciding on a recommendable price for losing independence, and weighing the non-financial hurdles that any proposal had to cross. Yet its investors have not been wholly supportive. BlackRock, the biggest shareholder, backed the board’s dismissal of Pfizer on price, but is nudging Astra to talk again in the future. Other shareholders have publicly criticised the board’s rejection.

from Breakingviews:

Astra-Pfizer needs a fresh start later in the year

By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

AstraZeneca should not reengage with Pfizer in the dying days of the takeover timetable. Talks now would either be fruitless or delay a proper restart later.

from Breakingviews:

Loophole offers Pfizer risky way back into AZ deal

By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Pfizer has a risky way back into a deal with AstraZeneca. An apparent loophole in Britain’s takeover code means the U.S. pharma group could offer the 58.85 pounds-a-share demanded by Astra for a recommendation, even after declaring that the earlier 55 pounds-a-share pitch was “final.”

from Breakingviews:

Where should AstraZeneca shares be trading?

By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Investors are putting a lot of faith in Pfizer succeeding in its $100 billion-plus quest to acquire UK pharmaceuticals rival AstraZeneca. The right price for the target’s share price can be seen as the weighted average of two possible outcomes – a sale to Pfizer or a standalone future. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why the market seems to think a transaction will probably happen.

from Breakingviews:

Pfizer unlikely to avoid China anti-trust therapy

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The chance to vet Pfizer’s $106 billion offer for rival drug-maker AstraZeneca looks too good to pass up for China’s competition watchdog. Pfizer should brace for some antitrust therapy, though getting Astra’s board on-side first may help.

from Breakingviews:

Pfizer yet to land knockout blow on Astra

By Neil Unmack 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Pfizer’s courtship of AstraZeneca looks like a hate-hate relationship. In January, UK pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca viewed its U.S. larger rival’s proposal of 46.61 pounds a share as too low on cash, too risky, and too cheap to even talk about. Pfizer’s latest proposal, an attempt to get Astra to begin friendly talks, hasn’t moved the needle much.

from Breakingviews:

Astra has small tactical advantage over Pfizer

By Christopher Hughes and Neil Unmack
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Time often benefits bidders rather than targets – that’s why U.S.-based food group Kraft left Cadbury flailing for months after making a takeover approach for its UK competitor. But the dynamics of Pfizer’s interest in rival pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca are unusual. Pfizer has good reason to seek a quick, agreed deal.

from Breakingviews:

Pfizer tax arbitrage will hasten more deals

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Pfizer’s $99 billion tax arbitrage bid will encourage copycats. The biggest charm of the U.S. drug giant’s offer for AstraZeneca of the UK lies in switching to a lower-tax domicile. The latest and largest such deal to hit the headlines raises the odds Congress will tighten rules – but not yet.

from Breakingviews:

Pfizer needs to do more to win AstraZeneca

By Neil Unmack

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Pfizer will need to pile on more pressure if it wants to buy AstraZeneca. The U.S. pharma group has confirmed that it made a $99 billion cash-and-stock approach for its UK peer in January, and is now renewing its suit. Astra Chief Executive Pascal Soriot may ultimately struggle to resist a takeover, but he ought to be able to extract a better proposal.

from Breakingviews:

Valeant can boost its $47 bln bid for Allergan

By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has plenty of room to boost its bid for Allergan. The acquisition machine, working with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, thinks it can cut at least $2.7 billion of costs from the Botox maker. At Valeant’s single-digit tax rate, that’s worth nearly $25 billion. And the potential benefits go on from there. The $47 billion deal, based on Monday’s closing price for Valeant stock, would still add up with a much bigger premium.

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