LONDON/NEW YORK May 26 Pfizer said on
Monday it had abandoned its current attempt to buy AstraZeneca
for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) as a
deadline approached without a last-minute change of heart by the
"Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the
proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an
offer for AstraZeneca," Pfizer said in a short news release.
Pfizer had until 5.00 pm (1600 GMT) on May 26 to make a firm
offer or walk away, under UK takeover rules. Its decision to
quit the stage, at least for now, had been widely expected after
AstraZeneca refused its final offer of 55 pounds a share.
The biggest U.S. drugmaker promised it would not go hostile,
leaving the fate of what would have been the world's largest
ever drugs merger in the hands of its target, whose board would
have had to make a complete U-turn to get a deal done.
British rules now require an enforced cooling-off period.
AstraZeneca could reach out to Pfizer after three months and
Pfizer could take another run at its smaller British rival in
six months time, whether it is invited back or not.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by David Evans)