Pfizer will cut its research budget and global headcount if it succeeds in taking over AstraZeneca, the US drugs maker acknowledged yesterday, amid mounting expectations that it will raise the informal ￡63bn offer for its UK rival.
Ian Read, Pfizer chief executive and chairman, refused to rule out job cuts in the UK as he was pressed by British lawmakers about his plans for the country’s second-biggest pharmaceuticals company.
Mr Read had been summoned to London for two days of parliamentary hearings, as public debate over the implications of the proposed deal for the UK’s life sciences sector intensified.
The tone for the 81-minute grilling was set when Adrian Bailey, chairman of the business committee, noted that Pfizer had been called a “praying mantis” and “a shark that needs feeding”.
UK politicians, led by David Cameron, the prime minister, say firmer guarantees on jobs and investment are needed to win their blessing for any deal. Vince Cable, the business secretary, is investigating what legal options the UK would have to frustrate the bid should their demands not be met.
Mr Read reiterated his commitment to keep 20 per cent of the combined research workforce in Britain for at least five years but refused to go further on specific job commitments.
The chief executive told MPs that his company’s pledge to commit a fifth of its R&D spending to the UK was an “unprecedented” and “substantial” commitment.
But he admitted that an enlarged company would whittle back its employee numbers and overall R&D budget should the deal go ahead.
以首相戴维?卡梅伦(David Cameron)为首的英国政客们表示，只有辉瑞在就业和投资方面做出更为有力的保证，他们才会支持这笔交易。英国商业大臣文斯?凯布尔(Vince Cable)正在研究，如果辉瑞未能满足他们的要求，英国政府可以选择哪些法律手段来阻碍交易。