LONDON May 19 British pharmaceuticals giant
AstraZeneca faces a clash with its shareholders amid
mounting disappointment at its rejection on Monday of a
sweetened takeover offer by Pfizer.
"We are extremely disappointed with the turn of events at
Astra today," said one - a fund manager at a top 10 investor in
AstraZeneca after the company rebuffed a raised takeover offer
of 55 pounds a share, worth around 70 billion pounds ($118
"We do not think the Astra management have done a good job
on behalf of shareholders. We had already urged Astra to engage
in discussions with Pfizer," added the fund manager on condition
of anonymity, as his firm had not authorised him to speak
Pfizer had sought to create the world's largest drugs
company but met entrenched opposition from AstraZeneca, while
many British politicians and scientists had expressed worries
about cuts to jobs and research in Britain.
Shares in AstraZeneca were trading more than 10 percent
lower after it rejected Pfizer's "final" offer.
A second AstraZeneca shareholder within the 40 largest
investors in the company said surprise at the rejected offer was
widespread among his peers.
"I thought at 55 they'd say 'lets open the books and chat'
so I think large numbers of shareholders out there will be
disappointed," the second shareholder said.
AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said he had made clear
in discussions with Pfizer that his board could only recommend a
bid that was at least 10 percent above an offer of 53.50 pounds
made by Pfizer on Friday, or 58.85 pounds.
Earlier Aberdeen Asset Management, a leading investor in
AstraZenea, said the U.S. group had room to offer more than 55
pounds per share.
Chief Investment Officer Anne Richards told BBC radio: "I
think it's a good price that's on the table at the moment but
probably they could do better than that."
($1 = 0.5942 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Peter Graff)