AstraZeneca share price: Chief executive ‘back to work’ after Pfizer

on Jun 18, 2014
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
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iNVEZZ.com, Wednesday, June 18: AstraZeneca Plc’s (LON:AZN) chief executive Pascal Soriot has outlined new goals for the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker after fending off Pfizer Inc’s (NYSE:PFE) takeover approach, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has reported.

AstraZeneca’s share price has added about 0.6 percent in London so far today.
**Life after Pfizer**
In an interview with the WSJ, Soriot said that he was ‘back to work’ after talks with Pfizer ended last month with the US pharma giant walking away empty-handed. The Anglo-Swedish company rebuffed several takeover offers noting that they substantially undervalued the company and its pipeline of new drugs.

“Not many companies have the breadth of portfolio that we have,” Soriot said, adding that he was reviewing deals to expand the company’s pipeline.
“What we have done in the past is a good guide to what we would do in the future,” he added.
AstraZeneca and its R&D arm MedImmune have this year entered into a string of partnerships with biotech companies such as Horizon Discovery and Immunocore. Last week, the Anglo-Swedish group announced a licence agreement with Synairgen Plc (LON:SNG) for an investigational compound for treating respiratory tract viral infections in patients with severe asthma. (Synairgen deal)

**Looking for a partner**
The WSJ quoted unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying that AstraZeneca had recently hired investment bank Centerview Partners to advise it on potential deals. The sources reported that the ideas under consideration concerned the company’s cancer drugs and included transactions, joint ventures and partnerships, contributing assets to publicly traded biotech companies or retaining the status quo.

Soriot explained that the benefit of a partner would be to commercialise the company’s coming cancer drugs faster. AstraZeneca’s chief executive had previously argued that a tie-up with Pfizer risked disrupting the FTSE 100 company’s research and delaying getting life-saving new treatments to market.

Soriot also noted in the WSJ interview that should Pfizer return with a new proposal, AstraZeneca would “take the same approach in terms of considering the value of the company, in terms of understanding the risk attached to the integration”. Under UK Takeover Panel rules, Pfizer could return with a fresh offer in November, following the expiry of a six-month cooling-off period. New talks, however, could begin as early as August if AstraZeneca approaches the US company first.
**Analysts on AstraZeneca**
As of June 13, the consensus forecast amongst 61 polled investment analysts covering AstraZeneca for the Financial Times advises investors to hold their position in the company.
Analyst Ratings Network reports that the FTSE 100 pharma maker has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 4,050.04p.
**As of 10:15 BST, buy AstraZeneca shares at 4394.50p.**
**As of 10:15 BST, sell AstraZeneca shares at 4393.00p.**

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