Following last week’s flurry of pharma deal activity, on Monday Pfizer announced its intention to acquire British drug maker and serious competitor AstraZeneca. The potential $100 billion dollar acquisition would be one of the largest pharma deals in history, topping Pfizer’s $90 billion purchase of Warner-Lambert in 2000. Among other reasons (such as the tax benefits of doing business outside the U.S.) AstraZeneca’s vast portfolio of cancer drugs makes it an attractive purchase. And who of the illustrious top law firms has the pleasure of advising on this proposed megadeal? Skadden is representing Pfizer (a longtime client), drawing on its expertise in the corporate, tax and competition arenas in both the U.S. and London. AstraZeneca has turned to Davis Polk and Freshfields to advise it on Pfizer’s proposal. (Both firms have previously worked on deals for the company.) In January AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer’s initial takeover proposal, but the latest announcement confirms that talks have resumed. Under U.K. takeover regulations Pfizer has until May 26 to make its intentions firm. We all know what that means—attorneys on these deal teams can expect to be working round-the-clock until then. Extra points for Skadden and Freshfields, each involved in pharma deals announced last week. Nice work if you can get it!
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