London, United Kingdom (4E) – Pfizer is reported to have held takeover discussions for its British rival AstraZeneca at a record valuations, marking the biggest-ever transaction in the pharma sector.
The UK’s Sunday Times, citing industry observers and senior investment bankers, reported that Pfizer had offered 60bn British pounds ($100bn) to acquire AstraZeneca.
The newspaper said that both companies had informal talks about the deal, although no negotiations occurred after AstraZeneca rejected the move. If the deal pushes through, it would also have been the biggest takeover by a foreign company of a British firm.
Both companies did not comment on the report.
AstraZeneca is the UK’s tenth-biggest company and the second-largest pharmaceutical firm after GlaxoSmithKline with 50,000 employees worldwide. With the company facing expiry of patents on a number of top-selling drugs, it has become a takeover target by many major pharmaceutical firms.
Pfizer currently has a market valuation of around $193bn, while AstraZeneca is valued at $80bn.
For the fourth quarter of 2013, the British company said its earnings fell 6 percent, and it posted a continued decline in profits as competition from generic drug makers intensify. AstraZeneca is scheduled to release its first quarter results on April 24.