Title: AstraZeneca versus Pfizer

Authors: Asja Hot; Matthias Mählitz; Patrizia Wien-Nicolini; Roman Stegmüller

Addresses: Novartis, 4051 Basel, Switzerland ' SAP (Schweiz AG), 8105 Regensdorf, Switzerland ' Endress+Hauser, 4153 Reinach BL, Switzerland ' Keen Innovation AG, 4053 Basel, Switzerland

Abstract: The Pfizer-AstraZeneca case shows how an acquisition target can successfully repel an attempted takeover by engaging with positively disposed stakeholders and managing communications and the news agenda. The company communicated clearly, consistently and powerfully throughout the process and could benefit from a natural, if temporary, coalition of interests between the UK scientific establishment, unions, and a significant portion of the media. In the end, they were able to persuade enough major shareholders to support their vision and reject Pfizer's offer. AstraZeneca presented themselves as a local champion, a cornerstone of Britain's high-tech industry, a key investor, valuable employer and in general, a standard bearer for the high-tech, value-added industry that was at that time being actively championed by the UK Government. At the same time, they characterised Pfizer's approach as an example of greed-driven capitalism most clearly demonstrated by their interests in the tax conversion possibilities.

Keywords: AstraZeneca; Pfizer; acquisition; takeover; stakeholder management; negotiation; strategy; defence; communication.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2019.102023

European Journal of International Management, 2019 Vol.13 No.5, pp.637 - 661

Received: 21 May 2018
Accepted: 22 May 2018

Published online: 03 Sep 2019 *

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