Yesterday, AZ Chairman, Leif Johansson said it was easy to rejec the Pfizer bid as it was atleast 10% below the price that AZ wanted to even show up at the bargaining table. So, $119B is an insult huh?
Today, various constituencies -- shareholders and governments -- weighed in with their opinions on the matter. Let's give voice to the naysayers first. Top AZ shareholders, Schroders (2.1%), Axa Investment Managers, and Jupiter went public that they were not happy that the AZ board did not at least sit down and try to negotiate. They called the rejection "premature".
But, on the postive side, fund manager Neil Woodford gave AZ's decision to reject a ringing endorsement and said he was glad they stayed independent to capitalize on their late stage pipeline. Dominic Rossi, Fidelity fund manager, also backed AZ and said Pfizer was a poor fit and only interested in the tax deal. Not surprinsingly, given the R&D axe that could have swung in their direction, the Swedish goverment also backed the AZ rejection. They too said AZ should remain independent and Pfizer should withdraw from process. The government said it also expected Pfizer to stay true to its word that this was its final offer.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 20th 2014.