Several Swedish government officials were quoted in the WSJ as urging shareholders to reject any takeover deal of AstraZeneca by Pfizer. They stated that the deal seems to be tax driven and that in the past that meant Pfizer would reduce jobs. In this case, they are specifically worried about the 5900 jobs in the Gotenburg R&D facility. The officials said the deal would hurt Sweden's economy. They also indicated that it was unfair as Sweden's goverment had invested more heavily in the life sciences that other EU governments.
The officials also noted that when Zeneca bought Astra in 1999, there was a relatively quick reduction in staff from 8419 to the current approximately 5900. Pfizer for its part, when it acquired Sweden's Pharmacia in 2003 also reduced the staff in Sweden from about 4000 to less than 500. so there is precedence for Sweden to be worried about job losses. As well as precedence for Pfizer to pay for mergers with cutting payroll -- which of course is what the UK government is also worried about relative to Pfizer's past R&D cuts at Sandwich. See Fierce Pharma and Bloomberg.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 16th 2014.