GlaxoSmithKline has rejected suggestions that it may be interested in acquiring smaller rival AstraZeneca, saying such a move would be “very distracting”. CEO Andrew Witty was responding to a shareholder question yesterday at the company’s AGM, and said such a move would conflict with GSK’s own development of experimental drugs.
The question was raised by a small shareholder, who said it would be more sensible than GSK's $2.6bn bid for Human Genome Sciences, noting that a merger of the two UK-based firms could theoretically generate considerable cost savings.
However, Witty disagreed, noting: “We think we can deliver an extraordinary return to shareholders through this [HGS] acquisition, adding that the offer was made when HGS shares had been trading at close to a 52-week low.
AstraZeneca is the UK’s second-biggest drugmaker, but its share price has fallen after it suffered repeated drug development setbacks, and as existing top-selling medicines go off patent.
NamNews - Friday 4th May 2012