LONDON May 13 AstraZeneca Chief
Executive Pascal Soriot said Pfizer's plan to cut its
tax bill by re-domiciling to Britain if it buys the smaller
British drugmaker posed a reputational risk.
"The proposed tax inversion structure, we are afraid, could
generate substantial controversy and potentially delay this
merger and potentially impact the reputation of our company," he
told a committee of British lawmakers on Tuesday.
The U.S. drugmaker has stirred up a political storm with its
$106 billion plan to acquire AstraZeneca, which has been
rebuffed by the smaller British company. AstraZeneca argues it
undervalues its drug pipeline and exposes its shareholders to
The deal would be the largest foreign takeover of a British
firm and is opposed by many scientists, trade unions and
politicians who fear for British science jobs given Pfizer's
track record of cost cutting after past acquisitions.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Kate Holton)