Labour threatens to block AstraZeneca takeover bid if it wins 2015 election

Labour threatens to block AstraZeneca takeover bid if it wins 2015 election

Labour‘s shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, has threatened to block the proposed £63bn takeover of AstraZeneca by its US rival Pfizerif the party wins the general election.

Umunna said that if Labour came to power in May 2015 he would subject a deal to a public interest test and block the transaction if the result was negative.

Analysts and lawyers said the timeframe of a takeover supported Labour’s threat, as a deal could take more than a year to clear regulatory hurdles in Europe, the US and China, where Pfizer is the largest drugmaker and AstraZeneca the second-largest.

Umunna said Labour would amend the criteria for a public interest test on sensitive takeovers to include the impact on Britain’s science and research and development base.

The deal would be blocked if a panel composed of scientists and business people warned that it would have an adverse effect, said Umunna. “If they advise that it could be adverse then I as secretary of state, if I was in a position to do so, and the legal advice of the department is such that we could do so, and the transaction had not taken place, I would intervene to block it on those grounds.”

  • The Guardian, 

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