UK lawmakers summon Pfizer and AstraZeneca

Tue May 6, 2014 5:50am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Representatives from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will be called before a British parliamentary committee to discuss a potential takeover deal in the coming weeks, a committee spokesman said on Tuesday.

AstraZeneca on Friday rejected a 63 billion pound ($106.26 billion) bid from Pfizer, but the U.S. firm is expected to pursue its efforts to acquire Britain's second largest pharmaceutical company.

The Business, Innovation and Skills committee session will take place before May 26 and is likely to be in the next week, although a firm date had not been fixed, the spokesman told Reuters. The committee had yet to confirm who from the firms would attend the session, he said.

Last week lawmakers from the committee said they wanted to explore the impact of a potential takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer on British interests. British parliamentary committees do not have statutory powers, but can prove influential in shaping public policy.

The takeover has taken on a political significance, with the opposition Labour Party on Sunday demanding an inquiry and accusing the government of "cheerleading" for Pfizer.

The Conservative-led coalition government has stressed the deal is a matter for the companies' boards and shareholders, but has held talks with both parties and is keen to promote Britain's tax regime to multinational firms. ($1 = 0.5929 British Pounds)

(Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden)

 
A man walks past Pfizer's world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly