Friday, 23 May 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: AstraZeneca - protectionist or practical?

This week, Pfizer’s potential takeover of AstraZeneca continued to draw huge attention from the media. Whilst AstraZeneca defended the bid and retained its integrity, it now has to deal with criticism from angry shareholders for turning down Pfizer’s offer of £55 per share, which could have resulted in an immense boost of the share-price and reduced tax liabilities for the company.

In several outlets, AstraZeneca’s rejection of Pfizer’s offer has been portrayed as an attempt of retaining British ownership in the multi-national drug company. Some have criticised the company and the UK scientific community for being protectionist; putting personal sentiment before professional. They question why a company of such size and scale should allow British sentiment to triumph over economic benefits.

Surely, British superiority should not have been the only reason for AstraZeneca to turn down the offer from Pfizer. The deal could have brought structural changes to the UK economy and R&D capabilities, changes which raised concerns amongst the wider public. In addition to this, the company’s rejection of the deal might also have been an attempt to negotiate a better deal. Indeed, AstraZeneca told Pfizer that it needed at least £58.85 per share to start negotiations, implying that the Company could have been prepared to sacrifice independence for a deal of just £3.85 more per share.

No matter what the real motive of the company was for rejecting the deal, it is interesting to see how the protectionism vs capitalism debate continues to dominate public discourse. Despite how dramatically the global society has evolved over the years, nationalistic dialogue continues to stimulate interest and public engagement, even in the private sphere.

Abchaps were  busy in the City this week. We kicked off the week at an Investis seminar about the importance of Digital communications at IPO.

We attended some brilliant adviser events including Hub Capital Partners Summer Party, Pinsent Masons Spring Drinks Party, as well as joining Hill Dickinson in their offices for drinks.

Abchaps also attended a very interesting roundtable discussion by Farrer & Co on ‘Economics and climate change – implications for investment in the UK’.

This week, BDO welcomed Chris Bellairs as a Partner in the firm to the Financial Services practice, whilst Addleshaw Goddard appointed John Joyce as managing partner of the law firm

Big Pharma” - The nickname given to the pharmaceutical industry. Critics of the industry often use this nickname when discussing abuse by the industry, however the term is also used to describe M&A at an international scale.

Having dominated the pages of the weekly papers, it is time for the petals of the one of the most famous flower shows to flutter across and be wrapped up in our weekly report. The last day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea’s world renowned annual show, will take place on Saturday 24th May. Held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, it will present the work of more than 800 botanical brains. Head to the RHS website for more details.

Saturday 24th May will also be the last day for the run of “Moonrock Boombox” at the Udderbelly Festival, London. Held in Southbank Centre, this performance is the latest installation of the Abandoman band, a band that hilariously combines hip-hop rap and comedy to create a bubbling period of entertainment. The Udderbelly Festival will continue to run in the Southbank Centre until 13th July.

Fancy seeing something a little more conventional? A new exhibition has just opened up at the Natural History Museum: Mammoths – Ice Age Giants. As the title suggests, this exhibition tells the story of the woolly creatures that once walked the earth. The exhibition will feature life-size models, fossils and will reveal how these ancient creatures used to live, and survive.

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