Shares of the Indian arms of MNC pharma companies Pfizer Ltd and AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd flared up in the markets this morning apparently in the wake of reports that the US pharma giant Pfizer had made a £60-billion takeover attempt of its British rival AstraZeneca.

Already, AstraZeneca in India is in the news for a proposed delisting, which was however put under hold over some clarifications it had sought from its manager and valuer.

Takeover bid

Newspapers in India reported today that the British newspaper Sunday Times had broken the news of US pharma company Pfizer making overtures to take over AstraZeneca by offering £60 billion.

The reports created buzz in the two counters in Indian markets since both the stocks are currently being eyed by investors for different reasons - Pfizer for its proposed merger with Wyeth and AstraZeneca because of its interest in delisting its shares in India.

Delisting proposal

It was in early March this year that AstraZeneca Pharma India informed the stock exchanges about the proposal of its parent to delist the Indian arm and which subsequently the Indian board approved.

However, at its meeting on April 15, AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd’s board of directors deferred the plan to seek the approval of shareholders through postal ballot for the delisting citing discussions with ICICI Securities Ltd, the manager, and Walker Chandoik & Co LLP, the valuer, and "pending their response to the clarifications and explanations sought from them''.

Stock price

The stock, which had hit a 52-week high of Rs 1,286 after the delisting proposal was announced, later lost some of the gains. But today, the stock flared up by 4.92 per cent or Rs 51.75 to Rs 1,104 on the NSE with a trading volume of about 75,000 shares. It touched a high of Rs 1,123 today.

Pfizer, which is in the midst of completing the merger with Wyeth in India, too was up by Rs 33.20 to Rs 1,268 with a trading volume of about 48,700 shares.

Wikipedia describes AstraZeneca plc as a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceuticals and biologics company with its headquarters in London.

(This article was published on April 21, 2014)
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