(Adds detail on Soriot's total holding)
LONDON, July 1 AstraZeneca's chief
executive has spent 2 million pounds ($3.40 million) on shares
in the drugmaker, marking a vote of confidence in its prospects
after the collapse of a $118 billion takeover bid by Pfizer
The British group said on Tuesday that Pascal Soriot
purchased 46,200 AstraZeneca shares on June 30 at 43.45 pounds
each, taking his holding to 197,781 shares - equivalent to 757
percent of his base salary.
Some shareholders have expressed dissatisfaction at
AstraZeneca's failure to clinch a deal with Pfizer. The U.S.
group offered 55 pounds a share for the company in May and
critics have argued Soriot's pay should be tied to getting the
shares to this level.
Under UK takeover rules, Pfizer is allowed to bid again for
AstraZeneca in late November, or be invited back by the British
company at the end of August. Whether it does so will depend on
developments at both companies.
AstraZeneca is banking on progress with a range of
experimental medicines, particularly in cancer, to prove it is
worth more than Pfizer offered. It has had some positive
pipeline news recently but also suffered a setback last week
when U.S. experts voted against accelerated approval of a new
ovarian cancer drug.
The stock ended 0.7 percent higher at 43.70 pounds, broadly
in line with a 0.6 percent advance in the European healthcare
($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Jane Merriman and