Failed bid would leave Astra under pressure

By Chris Hughes
May 27, 2014

Pfizer looks foolish for the way it handled a $119 bln offer for the UK drugmaker. But its shares have barely suffered. Astra remains independent and yet it is now under more scrutiny. Some of its shareholders welcomed a possible takeover - and could again.

Astra-Pfizer needs a fresh start later in the year

By Chris Hughes
May 21, 2014

Some shareholders want the UK pharma company to talk to its American suitor now. But there is no honest route to a higher bid until August. Talks in the dying days of the bid timetable could actually delay a full move. An amicable cooling off period is the best plan.

Where should AstraZeneca shares be trading?

By Chris Hughes
May 15, 2014

The right price for the UK pharma group’s stock can be seen as the weighted average of two possible outcomes – a $100 bln-plus sale to Pfizer or a standalone future. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why the market seems to think a transaction will probably happen.

Rob Cox: The worry now is a brewing M&A bubble

May 13, 2014

The corporate urge to merge has gone into global hyper-drive. Activity has surged as investors egg companies on and bid up the shares of acquirers well beyond mathematical prudence. When new metrics to justify the irrational are trotted out, it’s time to exercise caution.

Astra has small tactical advantage over Pfizer

By Chris Hughes
May 1, 2014

Time can benefit bidders rather than targets – that’s why Kraft left Cadbury flailing for months. But uncertainties around regulatory clearance and Washington politics complicate the dynamics of Pfizer’s approach to AstraZeneca. The U.S. group will want a quick, recommended deal.