US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer has called off its multi-billion pound bid to take over British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.
The decision came after AstraZeneca's board declined an offer worth almost £70bn.
Pfizer had until 5pm today to make a new bid or walk away from the process.
"Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an offer for AstraZeneca," the firm said in a news release.
Pfizer has until Monday until it admits defeat in bidding for AstraZeneca. But after the shenanigans of the past few days we cannot be sure.Read the full story ›
ITV News Business Editor spoke to AstraZeneca shareholder and fund manager Neil Woodford this evening, who said he was "delighted by the resolve of the board" and happy with their decision to reject the takeover bid.
My News at Ten live didn't happen. Had planned to set out detail of my chat with Neil Woodford - another fund manager staying loyal to AZ.
Woodford's stake in AstraZeneca "below 1%" but he was buying shares today. His bet: not on Pfizer's return "deal is dead" but AZ's future.
Value of Woodford's stake in AstraZeneca fell 11% today but he was "delighted by the resolve of the board, it was right to reject the bid".
The chairman of AstraZeneca has said the "tax-effective" structure of the proposed deal with Pfizer would have made it a "controversial" deal.
"It was possibly within the rules - we think so - but it was clearly a controversial deal," he told ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills.
AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson has told ITV News he believes a potential takeover deal with Pfizer is "at the end of the road" after a number of issues remained unresolved.
He said Pfizer were told that they would have to raise last week's bid by at least 10% for it to be recommended to shareholders, "assuming other aspects of the deal" could be resolved.
"Neither of the two happened so that's where I think we are at the end of the road," he said.
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.
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.
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.
AstraZeneca shareholder Aberdeen Asset Management believes Pfizer will return with a renewed bid for the British drug manufacturer in six months.
ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reports:
Aberdeen Assert Management (owns 2.5% of AZ) says "has confidence" in board but wants "fuller explanation" and suggests Pfizer may be back.
"I don't think this is the last roll of the dice" - Anne Richards, Chief Investment Officer, AAM believes Pfizer will return in 6 months.