April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc could make a public declaration of its interest in Britain’s second-biggest drugmaker, AstraZeneca Plc, as early as this week, the Financial Times said, citing sources.
The paper, citing people familiar with the matter, said the U.S. company had approached AstraZeneca in the past week what would be one of the global drug industry’s largest ever deals.
AstraZeneca declined to comment and Pfizer could not be reached outside of regular business hours.
Going public could put pressure on AstraZeneca's board to engage in talks, the FT added. (link.reuters.com/ryx78v)
On Thursday, the British firm declined to comment about a newspaper report that said it had spurned a 60 billion pound ($100.87 billion) bid approach from Pfizer earlier this year.
AstraZeneca has been frequently touted as a potential takeover target as it wrestles with patents expiring on a number of best-selling drugs, leaving future growth uncertain.
In the past, Swiss drug firm Novartis and larger British peer GlaxoSmithKline have been mentioned as potential suitors, although GSK has publicly said in recent years it is not interested in making a large acquisition. ($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds) (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Sandra Maler)