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View Full Version : US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's intended takeover of UK's Astra Zeneca PLC...


airship
6th May 2014, 17:47
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has told MPs (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27291162) the government will not let Pfizer use the UK as a convenient tax-haven whilst "taking-over and operating" in the EU.

In other words, "**** off Pfizer, if you don't mind too much?!". I can't complain, knowing of US companies propensities to take complete advantage of being allowed to set-up manufacturing facilities in the EU, selling their wares, whilst paying very little (or zero) in corporate taxes anywhere here in the EU.

GM (their Opel / Vauxhall brands) are the best example of how today's US corporations pay little or nothing in corporate taxes anywhere in the EU ca. 2014. Not forgetting Amazon, Starbucks etc. ...?! :uhoh:

con-pilot
6th May 2014, 17:53
If you are upset with US companies "taking control" of other countries' businesses, you really must be upset with the Dutch. :p

BenThere
6th May 2014, 17:57
Actually, airship, though you are blissfully unaware of it, US corporations are subject to the tax laws of every jurisdiction in which they operate. It follows, then, that you should be just as anti-corporate angry at Astro-Zeneca.

Don't disregard the payroll taxes employees of corporations pay, not to mention the food they put on the tables of their employees. And the taxes those employees pay put the food on the tables of those living on entitlements.

You may want to stop that merry-go-round. But think hard about it.

Windy Militant
6th May 2014, 18:24
If you are upset with US companies "taking control" of other countries' businesses, you really must be upset with the Dutch.

Are Kraft Dutch? If so then I'm furious at them for the complete and utter dogs breakfast that they've turned Cadburys chocolate into. :yuk:

Cacophonix
6th May 2014, 18:26
There are a number of good reasons to take a long hard look at this potential merger and perhaps the US tax authorities might do so too...

Pfizer admits a main rationale is tax avoidance. The company has a pool of billions of dollars accrued outside the US, which it does not want to bring back to America because of corporation tax on overseas earnings. Spending the money on a takeover means it can avoid the US tax.

Pfizer AstraZeneca takeover: Insider warns that acquisition could be ?devastating? for research - Business News - Business - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/exclusive-pfizer-insider-warns-that-takeover-of-astrazeneca-could-be-devastating-9318884.html)

Caco

Cacophonix
6th May 2014, 18:28
Kraft

Kraft are an American based multi-national and yes they did bugger the chocolate up...! ;)

Edited to say that a number of famous British brands including 'our' brown sauce are now manufactured in the Netherlands much to the horror of good Englishmen and Welshmen!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Sauce

Caco

Windy Militant
6th May 2014, 18:35
The well known sauce tastes OK to me but then again I'm Welsh. ;)

At least the Brummies could make chocolate unlike this shower! :(

airship
6th May 2014, 18:42
con-pilot wrote: If you are upset with US companies "taking control" of other countries' businesses, you really must be upset with the Dutch. :p

You're very right of course. For some strange reasons I remain ignorant of, the Dutch do have the ability to attract many "foreign corporations" operating in the EU by offering various "negotiated" or just simple reduced "corporate taxation exposure". Probably quite illegal under EU rules, but not enough to completely deter the likes of Amazon or Starbucks.

The "antics" of all these (mostly very big) foreign corporations make a mockery of individual countries' efforts of attempting to properly make companies (of all sizes) pay their corporate taxes correctly, here in France or elsewhere.

BenThere
6th May 2014, 19:47
Make sure you're blaming the right company. Kraft split into two companies, Kraft and Mondelez. Kraft now generally makes the cheese, sauces and groceries, while Mondelez makes the snacks, cookies and chocolates.

They all used to be part of Philip Morris, who acquired them with tobacco earnings. Time was, you could hardly walk out of a grocery store without having purchased a Philip Morris product.

Best investment I ever made was buying 100 shares of Philip Morris back in the early 80's.

Cacophonix
6th May 2014, 20:10
Cadbury were bought by Kraft Foods in 2010... (now known as Mondelez as you say)...

Cadbury - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadbury)


Caco

Lonewolf_50
6th May 2014, 21:46
Are Kraft Dutch? If so then I'm furious at them for the complete and utter dogs breakfast that they've turned Cadburys chocolate into. :yuk:
Must concur with Windy's protest. Almost time for torches and pitchforks on that score ... :mad:

Best investment I ever made was buying 100 shares of Philip Morris back in the early 80's.
And I, sadly, chose to invest in a real estate partnership that, unlike a lot of real estate deals in those days, went so far south the penguins were north of it. :mad:

Mondelez: sounds like a good company to boycott.

BenThere
6th May 2014, 23:34
Here are the brands you'll be boycotting:

Brand Family (http://www.mondelezinternational.com/brand-family)

Matari
7th May 2014, 01:56
The one I can't figure out is GE's proposed purchase of Alstom. Why buy an old-world company in sclerotic Europe -- a company that specializes in making what the French government forces their own companies to buy? Dumb move, Immelt.

Cacophonix
7th May 2014, 05:04
The one I can't figure out is GE's proposed purchase of Alstom. Why buy an old-world company in sclerotic Europe -- a company that specializes in making what the French government forces their own companies to buy?


Maybe the only sclerotic thing around here is your brain for producing such rabidly prejudiced twaddle....

Alstrom are a fine engineering company and their railway offerings are very good while their nuclear steam turbine branch is world leading...

They sell their wares all over the world.

When I last travelled in an Alstrom powered train I was whisked along at up to 180 miles an hour. Is that possible anywhere in the USA? GE are onto a good thing but will have to up their price to be competitive.

Caco

rh200
7th May 2014, 07:07
In other words, "**** off Pfizer, if you don't mind too much?!". I can't complain, knowing of US companies propensities to take complete advantage of being allowed to set-up manufacturing facilities in the EU, selling their wares, whilst paying very little (or zero) in corporate taxes anywhere here in the EU.

Would really depend in the circumstances, doesn't it. Some of these companies have a business plan, you go along or go to the wall. Another words you could have the production and investment that can go with the takeover, or the long term collapse of the target and loss of jobs.

Its not always the case, but the auto industry can be lie that, frankly if it was a choice between having nothing or something I know what I would choose.

That said, the growing problem of tax and where it should be paid and when does need to be addressed. Business is getting more and more borderless in its operations and some clearly defined ground rules should really be agreed on.

Matari
7th May 2014, 11:50
Hey Caco, how does the global order book look for new nuclear plants? Who's talking twaddle?

Alstom's steam and gas turbine product lines have been killed by MHI and Siemens. GE has fallen behind those two as well. GE is not buying a winner, but a has-been.

If you want a great example of Franco-American cooperation, look at Snecma. Now that's a winning combination.

Andy_S
7th May 2014, 12:07
Alstrom are a fine engineering company and their railway offerings are very good while their nuclear steam turbine branch is world leading.

In which case, one wonders why they are struggling?

As regards Astra Zeneca, while I would like to see them remain British, and don't trust Pfizer one iota, the fact is that AZ belongs to it's shareholders and is run by it's board on behalf of the shareholders. Government ministers are entitled to an opinion, but have absolutely no right to intervene if the board and / or the shareholders think a fair price is being offered.

Akrotiri71
7th May 2014, 12:33
.......the fact is that AZ belongs to it's shareholders and is run by it's board on behalf of the shareholders. Government ministers are entitled to an opinion, but have absolutely no right to intervene if the board and / or the shareholders think a fair price is being offered.

In a nut-shell. :ok:

vee-tail-1
7th May 2014, 12:43
Oh boy some posts here really make my blood boil!
Both here, and yesterday on BBC R4, people debate the proposed drug company takeover as if money is the main or even only issue.

FFS what is the main purpose of a drugs company? To make money for shareholders or to find ways to heal sick people.

It appears that many people seem to think the money interests of shareholders are important! In a sane society shareholders would be happy to support an organisation that does good research to produce products that heal people. Not expecting anything more than a modest money return on their mainly altruistic investment.

Too many sick people are addicted to money.

Lightning Mate
7th May 2014, 13:13
"FFS what is the main purpose of a drugs company? To make money for shareholders or to find ways to heal sick people."

The first one - as in all companies.

Akrotiri71
7th May 2014, 13:20
FFS what is the main purpose of a drugs company? To make money for shareholders or to find ways to heal sick people.

IMO, to the top bods who run pharmaceutical companies, the two are indistinguishable.

Those that hold the most stock, Who owns AstraZeneca? 13F filings of top holders in AZN - simplified 13F-HR filings at stockzoa (http://stockzoa.com/ticker/azn/) , are big-business as opposed to humanitarians.

Andy_S
7th May 2014, 14:14
FFS what is the main purpose of a drugs company? To make money for shareholders or to find ways to heal sick people.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

It appears that many people seem to think the money interests of shareholders are important!

The pharmaceuticals manufactured by companies such as AZ require funding for the R&D to develop them. Where do you think that comes from?

The reality, at least for those of us who inhabit the real world, is that a lot of these drugs wouldn’t get developed unless people invested in the companies involved. And the point of investment is that you get a return on it.

felixflyer
7th May 2014, 14:42
I really don't understand people getting so worked up about companies such as Starbucks, Amazon etc. paying so little tax. This is Corporation Tax we are talking about. That is a tax on the profit that a company makes.

If you think about it, it doesn't really make sense to impose large amounts of Corporation Tax. A company such as Starbucks employs many people in the UK all of which pay income tax and then other taxes on items bought with their wages. Some of these companies also generate VAT on some products. We should really be incouraging these businesses to move to the UK not trying to send them elsewhere.

mixture
7th May 2014, 17:05
Those that hold the most stock, Who owns AstraZeneca? 13F filings of top holders in AZN - simplified 13F-HR filings at stockzoa , are big-business as opposed to humanitarians.

Oh ... my... god... PLEASE ... spare us the unsubstantiated nonsense unless you are able to put your money where your mouth is ! :ugh:

Ever heard of a "nominee account" ? (I think the Yanks call them "street name securities")

No, I didn't think so. :rolleyes:

airship
7th May 2014, 18:37
BenThere wrote: Don't disregard the payroll taxes employees of corporations pay...

That's the usual response of those who attempt "to excuse the actions of companies" which most recently have attracted much interest in the media over their low or inexistent payments of corporation taxes where they operate. As if somehow it's even preferable to just have all these jobs, without companies being also taxed on their real profits...?! You folks must think the average citizen and taxpayer are idiots. :(

And why the City of London and New York remain far and way ahead of the usual "offshore tax-havens" for corporations and individuals seeking to minimise their liabilities to pay taxes. That won't change until some modern version of formal "capital controls" are re-introduced. Which won't ever be forth-coming because most of our politicians, beholden as they are to various important interests behind their individual and parties' success, would never attempt to do so. In fact it would take a serious real or trade war (with threat of invasion or dire consequences to the national economy from the latter) for any changes to come about.

The current "system" favours and protects the capital interests of the International companies and important individual investors. If you're a member of the remaining 99% of companies and individuals, the "system" doesn't allow you much flexibility, and you're basically forced to pay all your corporate and individual taxes.

If the future of globalisation is to be assured and prosper, then all players should be seen to be playing on fair terms. Otherwise, it will only take one strategically-placed political party (such as UKIP in UK or the FN in France) to scupper all your best efforts at globalisation. Leaving the top 1% of players suddenly finding their fortunes at least temporarily "frozen and immovable" at best, or at worst, justifying the origins and paying all taxes involved before "release"...?!

Lonewolf_50
7th May 2014, 19:59
Here are the brands you'll be boycotting:

Brand Family (http://www.mondelezinternational.com/brand-family)
I went to generic cream cheese ages ago, and most of those products I don't use. Triscuits? Haven't been in the house in about five years. (I only use unsalted saltines for crackers).

Occasionally go with Nabisco crackers, usually something else.

The rest ... not in the cupboard. Looks like am an nearly boycotting them already.

Cacophonix
7th May 2014, 20:04
Wasn't it Kraft (or Mondelez they call themselves now) that inflicted that disgusting yellow squirty plastic cheese on the world! Truly one of the most egregious insults to the palate since my teenage cousin accidently burst a pimple onto his tongue... :yuk:

Caco

Lonewolf_50
7th May 2014, 20:10
Yep. Nasty stuff.

Back to Pfizer. A lieutenant working for me got out of the Navy and hired on with Pfizer. As luck would have it for him, he joined the company, in sales, less than six months before Viagra hit the market.

As JL used to tell me: "The Pfizer Riser made possible this lovely BMW 325 sedan."

He made a bundle.

MissionAccomplished
8th May 2014, 06:17
Pretty sure "airship" is just anti US, no matter what the situation is. Don't humour him any further...

mixture
8th May 2014, 11:25
Pretty sure "airship" is just anti US, no matter what the situation is. Don't humour him any further...


Irrespective of Airship, it must be said that Pfizer don't exactly have much of a track record maintaining UK jobs, per this BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12335801) from 2011.

Rumour has it though that AZ/PF unfortunately might be a done deal by the time the other side of this weekend comes around !

rh200
8th May 2014, 12:51
FFS what is the main purpose of a drugs company? To make money for shareholders or to find ways to heal sick people.

Its purpose is to make money, it does this by finding ways to heal people. It is able to do this by the profits it makes, and the money given to it by shareholders, who expect it to make money.

Other wise they wouldn't give it any money so that they could find ways to heal sick people.

Andy_S
8th May 2014, 14:37
Its purpose is to make money, it does this by finding ways to heal people. It is able to do this by the profits it makes, and the money given to it by shareholders, who expect it to make money.

Anti-capitalists conveniently overlook shareholders, seemingly believing that profits generated by companies like AZ simply end up in the pockets of fat cat businessmen and greedy bankers. The reality is that a great deal of the profit is distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends, and some is re-invested with a view to growing the company which will also increase shareholder value.

The biggest shareholders, of course, tend to be institutional investors; fund managers, insurance companies, banks and building societies - financial institutions who look after our pensions and savings. So some of the money that’s invested in AZ may actually end up making me a bit richer and supporting me in my old age, especially if someone is prepared to pay over the odds to take them over.

Of course, I could simply hide my money under the bed instead. It would continually lose value in real terms, and AZ would no longer have the funding to develop new medicines, but at least my conscience would be clear……..

500N
8th May 2014, 14:41
Andy

I think the Anti's also forget just how much it sometimes costs to develop,
test and all together take a medical formula from start to FDA approval
- before you even look at other countries.

And it's all money down the drain if it doesn't pass the testing stage,
animals or humans.

Ancient Observer
8th May 2014, 16:59
Er, is one allowed to contribute to this debate if one knows something about these Cos and their history?

Just "a couple" of points.

In the (small) world of the pharma Co.s, Pfizer is the Vampire Squid and Joker combined. It buys its competitors, closes down their R, then their D, and then their manufacturing. It returns all the KnowHow to the few R & D folk that it keeps, all in the US.

AZ is important to its BIG Swedish shareholders, to Sweden plc and to UK plc.

The last time Pfizer bought a big Swedish Co., it lied, paid the money, and then removed all of that Science and all the future scientists from Sweden.

If you add up all the R & D from Pfizer and its 3 biggest acquisitions, at the time of acquisition, Pfizer now spends approx 25% of that total on R & D - of which 90+% is in the US.

If Sweden and UK plc allow this Vampire squid, this Venom filled Cobra to take over AZ, then both the Government's Cabinets should be taken out and shot at dawn.

mixture
8th May 2014, 17:49
Er, is one allowed to contribute to this debate if one knows something about these Cos and their history?

Just "a couple" of points.

Looks like there's life in the crusty old fart yet.... not a bad view from your elevated viewpoint AO... not bad... :ok:

The modern terminology for them is "asset strippers"....similar to what private equity do.

Lonewolf_50
8th May 2014, 18:08
If Sweden and UK plc allow this Vampire squid, this Venom filled Cobra to take over AZ, then both the Government's Cabinets should be taken out and shot at dawn.
And not only for this episode, to be sure. :}

chksix
8th May 2014, 18:28
My home town here in Sweden will suffer badly from this takeover. If the factory closes down 2200 employees will walk. Not a lot of other options for them so they'll have to move, along with their families. Volvo might be next in line...

I'm in the transport business and I'm sitting in the last wagon of the long train which is steaming off the broken bridge... :{

Windy Militant
8th May 2014, 18:42
Its purpose is to make money, it does this by finding ways to heal people.

Ben Goldacre wrote about this I can't remember if it was a newspaper article or in his book Bad Science but he pointed out the discrepancy between the amount of money that was spent on marketing as to that spent on research. He quoted the figure for both with references.

Cynical Moi;)

He also did a pretty good job of debunking homeopathy as well!:}

sitigeltfel
9th May 2014, 12:06
Ed Miliband is facing an investigation by the Commons Standards Committee for not declaring a donation from AstraZenica board member. (http://order-order.com/2014/05/09/miliband-faces-standards-investigation-over-undeclared-donation/)

He also seems to have forgotten to mention it when supporting the company at PMQs.

Corrupt...or just plain stupid? Probably both!

Blacksheep
9th May 2014, 12:27
Another (sic) words you could have the production and investment that can go with the takeover, or the long term collapse of the target and loss of jobs.When Kraft bought Cadbury, they gave assurances they would retain the UK production facilities. Within a couple of weeks they shut down all Cadbury production and fired all the workers. All they wanted was the brand name. Good for their shareholders no doubt, but it was the UK government (i.e. the taxpayers) who picked up the bill, including the loss of tax revenue. So why say the government has no business interfering in foreign take-overs? Another way of looking at it is why should (mostly foreign) shareholders profit from throwing people out of work for their own short-term gain?

PTT
9th May 2014, 12:37
his book Bad ScienceExcellent read.

rh200
9th May 2014, 13:17
Anti-capitalists conveniently overlook shareholders

Yep, you wouldn't believe the amount of blue collar workers who had to put off retirement the last global depression. Superannuation funds suffered.

As per the rest about takeovers, stripping assets and marketing, your point is? I may agree with your moral viewpoint personally, but!

Its back to there purpose is to make money, that involves several strategies, both long and short term. Marketing, well if that makes them more money, destroying the opposition, well if that makes them money. Their duty is to ensure the long term viability of the company and provide value, not be nice.

Sadly having a nice moral public image doesn't always cut it, wish it did, but lifes cruel.

Ancient Observer
9th May 2014, 17:09
I agree that shareholders own the firm.

With AZ, though, it is such a large part of UK plc, in terms of exports and science base, that HMG should have a strong say. (Even if the daft bast***s have given the power to the EU).

If the shareholders do not want HMG to have a say in Truly strategic Co.s, then they can p*** off. - Otherwise known as selling their shares.

Pfizer are a bunch of lying two faced sharks who would eat their Granny if the price was right. For example, look at their promises versus actions in the case of Pharmacia. Lokk how they stripped Wyeth. A nasty bunch of .......

They are nearly as evil as those USA based Cos that refuse to pay UK tax, and lie to the Taxman. Amazon comes to mind. They say they do not "sell" things in England. Er, as a matter of fact there is an office block in Slough that is full of Salesmen and women. (Mainly men)

Windy Militant
9th May 2014, 19:36
One thing that's puzzled me for years is where do all these profits go to?
It doesn't seem to be reinvested into the companies, well nowhere near as much is taken out.
It doesn't seem to to be going to the shareholders, the total collapse of the pension funds seem to indicate that.
So where is it going to, maybe Alternative 3 was not as far fetched as we thought........ :suspect:

vulcanised
9th May 2014, 19:53
Unless something has changed, I don't think Amazon has ever made a profit.

The way they operate, I don't believe they are ever likely to.

wings folded
9th May 2014, 20:01
Something like 2 million increase in net assets between 2012 and 2013?

Where did that come from?

500N
9th May 2014, 20:04
Vulcan

No, they haven't made a profit and I don't think they expect to for a few more years.

But a bit like Alibaba and the Chinese ebay, they get so big they get dominant.

airship
10th May 2014, 18:06
MissionAccomplished wrote: Pretty sure "airship" is just anti US, no matter what the situation is. Don't humour him any further... WOW, that's something coming from a "Probationary PPRuNeR" with a total of 5 posts (including that one) to his name - talk about the kettle calling the pot black etc.?! Having said that, apparently he's an IT professional... :p

Whatever, even if many others here similarly share my own concerns and harbour their own doubts about this and other takeovers, we're probably all just braying in the wind. The difference between "you and I and others", are that these "others" can often "speed-dial" folks like David Cameron etc. and expect to have their calls answered. Certain people have more of a chance "to be heard". Even if we're all supposed to be mere citizens and equal under the law, with a single vote once every 4-5 years... :}