LONDON (AP) — The board of AstraZeneca has rejected the improved $119 billion takeover offer from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, a decision that has caused a sharp slide in the U.K. company’s share price as investors think it effectively brings an end to the protracted and increasingly bitter takeover saga.
In a statement Monday, AstraZeneca’s board said it ‘‘reiterates its confidence in AstraZeneca’s ability to deliver on its prospects as an independent, science led business.’’
Pfizer Inc., which is the world’s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue, has been courting No. 8 AstraZeneca PLC since January, arguing that their businesses are complementary and would be stronger together. On Sunday, it said it was ready to raise its stock-and-cash offer by 15 percent to $118.8 billion, or 70.73 billion pounds.
AstraZeneca didn’t take long in rejecting the offer, its board arguing that Pfizer is making ‘‘an opportunistic attempt to acquire a transformed AstraZeneca, without reflecting the value of its exciting pipeline.’’
Because Pfizer said it won’t raise its offer again or launch a hostile takeover bid over the heads of AstraZeneca’s board, the prospect of a deal looks increasingly remote unless AstraZeneca shareholders urge a change of mind. Pfizer has said it hopes AstraZeneca’s shareholders will push for a deal.
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