Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is said to have approached Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT) to express interest in a possible acquisition, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The media network said Pfizer is still looking for ways to reduce the amount of taxes it pays while also gaining a new pipeline of products.
The sources said Pfizer and Actavis aren’t currently in any formal negotiations and that Pfizer has not made a formal bid.
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Pfizer walked away from AstraZeneca
In May, Pfizer made a bid for U.K.-based AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) (LON:AZN), but Pfizer ended up walking away from the offer. The U.S.-based drug maker must wait until late November if it wants to try again due to rules about merger and acquisition proposals in the U.K.
Bloomberg’s sources said that while Pfizer walked away from AstraZeneca earlier this year by refusing to pay what the U.K.-based drug maker wanted, Pfizer is still considering making another offer for AstraZeneca. They also said the company is looking at other possibilities but has decided that any deal it tries to make must be friendly. Pfizer’s first unsolicited offer for AstraZeneca was certainly not friendly.
Seeks tax inversion deal
One of the reasons Pfizer was interested in AstraZeneca is because it would offer a tax inversion. That basically means Pfizer would be able to move its headquarters offshore and take advantage of a tax rate that’s lower than the U.S. rate.
A deal with Actavis would offer a similar attractiveness to Pfizer. Although the company is based on New Jersey, it acquired Warner Chilcott Plc last year, thus gaining a tax domicile in Ireland.
New tax rules in the U.S.
This week the U.S. Treasury announced new rules to crack down on tax inversion deals, however. They slap limits on the ways companies are able to access their offshore cash without paying U.S. taxes. Bloomberg’s sources said Pfizer is unperturbed by the new rules, however.