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AstraZeneca makes case against Pfizer’s bid

AstraZeneca PLC, the British drugmaker that Pfizer Inc. has offered to buy for $106 billion, laid out its defense Tuesday.

In presenting new long-term financial estimates, AstraZeneca said it expected to achieve annual revenue of $45 billion by 2023, suggesting that Pfizer’s bid undervalued the company’s potential.

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AstraZeneca said that it expected its diabetes and respiratory drugs would each be generating about $8 billion in revenue by 2023, and that its pipeline for new profitable drugs was healthy. And it said sales in Japan and emerging markets were expected to pick up in the years to come.

“The increasingly visible success of our independent strategy highlights the future prospects for our shareholders,” the company’s chairman, Leif Johansson, said in a statement. “These are benefits that should fully accrue to AstraZeneca’s shareholders.”

But AstraZeneca acknowledged that change would be slow, saying revenue in 2017 would be broadly in line with that of last year.

AstraZeneca’s shares are trading well above where they were before Pfizer announced its interest in what would be one of the largest pharmaceutical deals of all time.

For Pfizer, the deal would allow it to become a substantially larger company, and also to redomicile in Britain, saving billions of dollars a year in taxes.

But AstraZeneca has so far shown no interest in a deal. It privately rebuffed Pfizer twice, and made public its opposition to a deal over the last week.

On Monday, Pfizer announced a drop in revenue and earnings, even as it resumed calls for AstraZeneca to engage in deal talks.

Ian C. Read, Pfizer’s chief executive, said, “We are very disappointed with their unwillingness to engage in conversations and believe it is in the best interest of both companies and AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s shareholders that we pursue a friendly, negotiated transaction.”

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