Pfizer considering "all strategies" in AstraZeneca bid

Pfizer Inc's top executives said yesterday that they were considering all strategies, including potential hostile manoeuvres, in the company's effort to seal a $106-billion (£62.84 billion) takeover of British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc.

Pfizer chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio said in a telephone interview "any option that could be thought of was an option", when asked whether Pfizer might take its bid directly to AstraZeneca shareholders before the 26 May deadline for Pfizer to either make a bid for its London-based target or walk away for six months, unless both companies agreed to a deadline extension.

D'Amelio said what was really needed was to have AstraZeneca engage with the company. He added what was needed was to be able to do the right kind of analytics that needed to get done, as he referred to the ability to study the British drugmaker's books.

Asked whether hostile moves could hurt integration of the two companies, chief executive Ian Read denied it adding, that it could only delay the planning.

He added, regardless of whether the deal came about from friendly negotiations or a hostile approach, it was likely to end on good terms if successfully completed.

He said both companies were full of really great people that realised this was the organisation they were in and they wanted to make it as successful as possible.

Meanwhile, speculation continued to mount over the possibility of Pfizer making a hostile bid for AstraZeneca after even its $106-billion bid was rejected (See: AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer's revised $106 billion offer).

According to AstraZeneca, the offer "substantially" undervalued the business, forcing Pfizer to consider its next move.

According to industry sources, a hostile bid could come as early as today, increasing calls for the bid to be referred to the competition authorities. This is expected to heighten union fears over jobs if the takeover wre to succeed.

According to GMB Union, which represents 3,000 workers in Macclesfield, the company's commitment to its workforce and research and development had proven to be 'empty promises' in the past.

Meanwhile, UK's business secretary Vince Cable said on Sunday that the bid by Pfizer Inc for AstraZeneca Plc raised questions of ''overriding national interest'', as the opposition Labour Party stepped up its campaign against the proposed takeover.

Cable's statement to the media came after Labour leader Ed Miliband accused prime minister David Cameron earlier in the day of promoting Pfizer's bid for London-based AstraZeneca.

Cable told reporters that reviewing rules on intervening in takeovers on public interest grounds was an option that the government was looking at (Cable admits Pfizer-AstaraZeneca deal involves 'national interest' issues)