Deals and IPOs

AstraZeneca CEO: Any takeover bid would be a distraction

Written by Katy Barnato, reported by Catherine Boyle
AstraZeneca can succeed on its own: CEO
AstraZeneca can succeed on its own: CEO

The CEO of AstraZeneca told CNBC that the U.K. pharmaceutical giant was big enough to thrive alone, but would still consider any takeover bids that fully reflected its value.

"We have the critical mass... we have the scale that is required to succeed," Pascal Soriot told CNBC on Tuesday, after a hearing with U.K. lawmakers to discuss Pfizer's ongoing efforts to acquire AstraZeneca.

"We have a very focused strategy, which is science-led. We have made enormous progress in the past 18 months in improving our pipeline… We can create value by progressing these projects and we believe with our standalone strategy we will create great value for shareholders."

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However, Soirot said that AstraZeneca's board had a "fiduciary responsibility" to consider any reasonably priced takeover bid.

"We of course consider any offer that is made to us that we feel reflects the value of the company," he told CNBC.

This came after Pfizer chief executive, Ian Read, suggested at the AstraZeneca-Pfizer hearing that he would consider raising the latest $106 billion offer. This was Pfizer's second offer, worth £50 ($84.20) a share, and AstraZeneca rejected it earlier this month.

At the hearing, Read was grilled on his commitment to U.K. research spending and jobs in the event of a takeover. This came as Read was grilled by the politicians on his commitment to U.K. research spending and jobs.

'Strong industrial rationale' for deal: Pfizer CEO
'Strong industrial rationale' for deal: Pfizer CEO

According to Reuters, Scottish-born Read pledged to keep a fifth of research jobs in the U.K., but said he could not commit to maintaining a specific R&D budget there. He also said that Pfizer had not ruled out a hostile bid.

Read MorePfizer CEO grilled on jobs over AstraZeneca deal

The questions were pertinent given AstraZeneca's strong presence in the U.K. in terms of employment and research facilities – it is building a £330 million research and development center in Cambridge, which will house a 2,000-strong workforce by 2016.

We have the scale for global success: AstraZeneca CEO
We have the scale for global success: AstraZeneca CEO

"I think what is important to keep in mind, is that we have a strong history in this country… we have a very strong presence," Soriot told CNBC.

"We are making an enormous investment in Cambridge at a time when the company is… suddenly going through a transition and challenging times."

Soriot added that Pfizer's ongoing acquisition efforts were a "distraction" from AstraZeneca's day-to-day work. He advised AstraZeneca employees to stay focused on their usual work.

"Stay focused on the task at hand. Patients are waiting for products… Stay focused on your work and progress the projects you are working on as quickly as you can," he said in his CNBC interview.