LONDON – 15 May 2014 – The British Members of Parliament that are part of the commons science committee hearing wanted Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) Chairman and CEO Ian Read to give more assurances about what it will do with AstraZeneca plc (AZN) once a deal is set.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron wanted more reassurances. He stressed, “This government has been absolutely clear that the right thing to do is get stuck in to seek the best possible guarantees on British jobs, on British investment, and British science.”
These MPs are concerned about what Ian Read said about the 5-year term of scientists working for the second biggest pharmaceutical company in the UK. Scots-born Read said that five years was enough time for some medicines to be approved.
French-born Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive officer, earlier pointed out that there might be a delay in the delivery of cancer medicines while the two companies are busy with ironing out the details of their combination.
Read denied that and said, “There is absolutely no truth to any comment that some products of critical nature would be delayed getting to patients, if anything we would accelerate that to patients.”
The British MPs are interested in the outcome of this corporate issue because U.S. company Pfizer wants to be incorporated in the UK to save on taxes. And this is also potentially the biggest pharmaceutical deal, giving AstraZeneca a $106 billion value.
However, AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer’s offer twice because the company said that the terms in the proposals are “inadequate” and “substantially undervalue” the company.
AstraZeneca believes it can stand on its own. It has even continued to invest in researching, developing, and manufacturing medicines in its many facilities.
“We are showing strong momentum as an independent company, in particular with our exciting, rapidly progressing pipeline, which the Board believes will deliver significant value for shareholders,” AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said.
Johansson also added in a statement that the proposal would “dramatically dilute” what its shareholders would receive from its “unique pipeline”.