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Published: May 29 , 2014
Author: Stephen White

Until yesterday I thought that the bid by US pharma giant Pfizer for UK based pharma giant AstraZeneca was a flash-in-the-pan piece of opportunism. We first heard of the plan at the beginning of May, when an offer of £50 per share was tabled. The merger would create the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. It was based on two premises, firstly that AstraZeneca were weak because their product portfolio contained a number of high-profit drugs which were coming to the end of their patent protection, and with nothing much in the R&D cupboard to replace them, and secondly because it gave Pfizer an advantage by enabling them to move their head office to the UK and save loads of tax in an avoidance wheeze...

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