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Pfizer Said to Plan Sweetening AstraZeneca Bid With Cash

01 May 14

Accorddng To Bloomberg,  Pfizer Inc. (PFE) is preparing to sweeten its bid for AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) to more than 63 billion pounds ($106 billion) in an attempt to lure the U.K.’s second-biggest drugmaker to the negotiating table, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The offer may value AstraZeneca at more than 50 pounds a share and include a larger cash component, and could come as early as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. The London-based company rejected a cash-and-stock proposal of 46.61 pounds a share. Pfizer will report its earnings on May 5.

The new bid and its timing aren’t final and may change, two of the people said. After speaking with some AstraZeneca shareholders, Pfizer sees an offer in the low 50 pound-per-share range gaining their support for the companies to hold talks, two people said.

Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer Ian Read is on a charm offensive in the U.K. this week and would prefer to negotiate a friendly deal. Buying AstraZeneca would give Pfizer a lower tax rate and a portfolio of experimental cancer drugs.

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