Stepping up calls for a public interest test on major takeovers, Britain’s largest union, Unite expressed fears that Pfizer ‘could be back’ in the coming months despite the company conceding defeat in its takeover bid of AstraZeneca today (Monday 26 May).
Under Takeover Panel rules, talks on a tie up could be reignited in three months if AstraZeneca invites Pfizer back to the negotiating table. If that does not happen, then Pfizer can make a new unsolicited bid in November later this year.
Commenting, Tony Burke Unite assistant general secretary said: “Pfizer failed to convince hardly anyone that their bid was good for science and would secure skilled jobs and manufacturing in the UK.
“There can be no room for complacency though. We expect that there will be renewed pressure on shareholders over the coming months with the likelihood that Pfizer could be back in its attempts to takeover AstraZeneca.
“The government needs to use this time to intervene and put a public interest test in place for proposed takeovers of this size, just as other government's do, such as the French which has strengthened its powers to act to protect strategic industries.
“AstraZeneca’s workforce expects shareholders to stand firm, respect their responsibilities and back the board’s long term strategy.
“The future of vital life sciences in the UK and improvements in health are so much more important than the desire of one company to minimise its tax liabilities and wrangles over drug patents.
“This is why we urge the government to act responsibly and put in place a framework for a public interest test should Pfizer come back for AstraZeneca.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
· Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.