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2nd Qtr 12:10

AstraZeneca rejects $119 billion offer from Pfizer

LONDON — The board of AstraZeneca on Monday rejected the improved $119 billion takeover offer from US drug maker Pfizer, a decision that caused a sharp slide in the UK company’s share price. Many investors think it effectively brings an end to the protracted and increasingly bitter takeover saga.

The board said it ‘‘reiterates its confidence in AstraZeneca’s ability to deliver on its prospects as an independent, science led business.’’

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Pfizer, the world’s second-biggest drug maker by revenue, has been courting number eight AstraZeneca since January, saying their businesses are complementary.

On Sunday, it raised its stock-and-cash offer by 15 percent to $118.8 billion.

That would be the richest acquisition ever among drug makers and the third-biggest in any industry, according to Dealogic.

AstraZeneca did not take long to reject the new offer, its board arguing that Pfizer is making ‘‘an opportunistic attempt to acquire a transformed AstraZeneca, without reflecting the value of its exciting pipeline’’ of experimental drugs.

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