Pfizer upped its offer to purchase AstraZeneca Plc once again, this time to $119 billion. Pfizer calls this their final attempt, and has set a deadline of May 26th for the company to respond, but AstraZeneca did not need that long to reply, issuing a statement this morning that they are rejecting the offer.
The latest offer is cash and stock, valuing AZN at £55 a share, 45 percent of which could be paid cash. (AZN is based in London.) The previous offer (May 2) was £50 pounds a share. The new offer is 10 percent higher than the last, and 53 percent above AZN's January 3 closing price (before Pfizer's first offer.) AZN said £55 per share "undervalues" the company, and was only a "minor improvement" from the last offer. The AstraZeneca board says it will only consider bids over £58.85 per share.
Pfizer was not hopeful going into the deal, as they did not expect AZN to accept the cash/stock deal, that would have created the world's largest pharmaceutical company. They had said it would be the last of the current bidding process, and that they would not make a "hostile" offer directly to AZN shareholders.
Pfizer CEO Ian Read issued this statement, “We have tried repeatedly to engage in a constructive process with AstraZeneca. Following a conversation with AstraZeneca earlier today, we do not believe that the AstraZeneca board is currently prepared to recommend a deal at a reasonable price. We remain ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue, but time for constructive engagement is running out.” As of today's rejection, time is out.
Had the deal been accepted at $119 billion, Pfizer planned to move its headquarters to England in order to benefit from the lower tax rates. They would also add new cancer treatments to their repertoire and cut overlapping costs for both companies. AZN shareholders would have received £24.76 cash per share and 1.747 shares in the new, joint company.
AZN stock has already fallen this morning since news of the offer rejection has spread. They are currently at $71.49, at the time of publishing, down nearly 11 percent from last week's close.