The Business Secretary Vince Cable says the government continues to monitor the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by US drugs giant Pfizer, saying that it is in the "national interest" to do so.
AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson has said he now saw no prospect of a deal with Pfizer before a deadline of 26 May set under British takeover rules, or any likelihood of that deadline being extended, Reuters have reported.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has reiterated his call for the Government to do an "objective test" on the impact of a potential takeover by Pfizer of AstraZeneca, despite the British firm's board rejecting the apparently final offer from the US drugs company.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has said he and the rest of the Government are "keeping our options open" after AstraZeneca's board rejected Pfizer's increased and apparently final offer of £69 billion.
Asked about the board's decision, Mr Cable said:
I'm not telling them what to do, they have clearly come to a firm view on the offer that has been put to them.
We will stay, as a Government, very firmly in a position of keeping our options open.
We have a clear view of the national interest in protecting research and development, jobs and manufacturing here, and we have sent out that message loud and clear.
One of the major shareholders in AstraZeneca has criticised the board following its rejection of Pfizer's "final" £69 billion takeover bid.
ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reports:
Richard Marwood, of Axa tells me "very disappointed" by AZ board "not in shareholders interests" and "very hard to do a deal from here"
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the Government will continue to talk in a "neutral" role to both Pfizer and AstraZeneca regarding a takeover after the US drug firm saw an increased offer rejected by the British manufacturer.
– David Cameron, speaking to the BBC
This is a matter for the companies to resolve themselves. The government quite rightly should be neutral in this.
What we should do though is always be engaged with both companies - as we have been - to try and make sure that whatever the outcome, British science, British job, British manufacturing, that they get a proper and deserved attention.
Astra outlined several key points underlying its rejection of the deal, starting with planned cost-cutting which would "imply a meaningful reduction in research and development potential and capabilities".
- The integration of the two companies would risk "significant disruption" to the delivery of its new drugs.
- Pfizer's past record, saying its previous large-scale takeovers had "highlighted the challenges around the negative impact of integration on research and development productivity and output."
- Astra expressed concerns about the impact of plans by the US firm to separate out its operations into three business units.
- The rejection statement repeated the concern expressed about the "tax-driven inversion structure" of the deal.
The company also pointed to the fact that the majority of the offer was still in the form of shares - which many Astra investors would have to sell.
– Rejection statement
"The board believes that Pfizer's final proposal, in relation to price, form of consideration and the four particular points that are central to the board's concerns around value, remains inadequate," the firm said.
"Accordingly, the board has rejected the final proposal."
AstraZeneca has rejected a final £69 billion takeover offer from US drugs giant Pfizer, saying it undervalued the company.
The UK-based pharmaceuticals firm spurned the latest advance after it upped the price over the weekend. The firm employs over 2000 people in the North West.
Astra for the first time placed a figure on a value it might have been able to consider putting to its shareholders to recommend a sale - of about £74.3 billion. The share price was increased to £55 a share by Sunday evening but was again rejected today.
– Chairman Leif Johansson
Pfizer's approach throughout its pursuit of AstraZeneca appears to have been fundamentally driven by the corporate financial benefits to its shareholders of cost savings and tax minimisation.
He said that from the time of initial talks in January, the US company had "failed to make a compelling strategic, business or value case".
Mr Johansson reiterated widely expressed concerns that a deal would have "serious consequences for the company, our employees and the life sciences sector in the UK, Sweden and the US".
AstraZeneca has rejected the increased and apparently final takeover offer of £69 billion from US drug giant Pfizer, ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills has reported:
AstraZeneca rejects "final" Pfizer bid of £69 billion.