But, given the nationalities of the key players at a U.K. hearing on the potential deal Tuesday, one panel member drew on the "Entente Cordiale," the 1904 agreement between Great Britain and France that established diplomatic cooperation between the countries before World War I.
Why? AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is French, and he stands to defend the British drugmaker from American giant Pfizer. Pfizer, of course, is led by Scottish-born Ian Read, to add yet another dimension.
Despite Read's background (he also was educated in England), the panel didn't go easy on him, demanding answers about Pfizer's plans for cutting jobs and research spending in the U.K.
"Mr. Read, your company has been variously described by the former chief executive of AstraZeneca as a praying mantis; a former employee of Pfizer's, I think the chief scientific officer, described your company as a shark that needs feeding," began the committee chair, Adrian Bailey. "If I can extend the zoological analogies, what can you say that can assure this committee that this particular leopard is about to change its spots?"
As it happened, not a whole lot.