Chancellor takes ‘hard-nosed’ approach over Pfizer takeover

<p>Pfizer’s planned £60 billion takeover of UK firm AstraZeneca is being mulled over by chancellor George Osborne.</p>

UK chancellor George Osborne has stated that he will take a "hard-nosed" approach to the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by rival pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The US company has proposed a £60 billion offer for the UK business, but the government has so far not indicated whether or not it is going to interfere in the bid.

Mr Osborne told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that his goal is to create a business atmosphere in the UK where companies feel as though they are able to thrive and grow.

He added: "But I'm also, on the specifics, prepared to get in the room and have a hard negotiation with very large companies and be very, very, hard-nosed about what we want to deliver in terms of good British science and good British jobs."

Bids rejected

AstraZeneca has already turned down two bids from Pfizer, the last of which is believed to have been worth £63 billion and was made by the US firm on May 2nd. Pfizer's chairman Ian Read has described the proposal that is on the table as a "win-win" for both companies, as well as for society and for shareholders, but AstraZeneca insists that the offer price is still too low for the bid to be accepted.

Mr Read said in videos posted on the Pfizer website that the proposed takeover has been motivated by "three components of value". He said: "I think both companies have strategies that are aimed at growing and aimed at meeting patients' needs."

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot and Mr Read are set to face the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on Tuesday morning (May 13th) where they will each answer questions about the potential impact of a takeover.

The share price of AstraZeneca rose when news of the takeover offer from Pfizer first broke and stocks in the pharma firm are slightly up in the early stages of trading this morning on the London Stock Exchange. By 08:21 BST, stocks in the company were up 0.18 per cent for the session.

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