A man walks past a sign at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)
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Britain's AstraZeneca Monday rejected a sweetened and "final" offer from Pfizer, undermining the U.S. drugmaker's plan for a merger to create the world's biggest pharmaceuticals group.The rebuff came nine hours after Pfizer said Sunday it had raised its takeover offer to 55 pounds a share, or around 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) in total and would walk away if AstraZeneca did not accept it.AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said he had made clear in discussions with Pfizer that his board could only recommend a bid that was at least 10 percent above an offer of 53.50 pounds made by Pfizer Friday, or 58.85 pounds.Pfizer also increased the cash element in its offer to 45 percent, under which AstraZeneca shareholders would get 1.747 shares in the enlarged company for each of their AstraZeneca shares and 24.76 pounds in cash.While Pfizer would have to wait on the sidelines until November, it would be possible for AstraZeneca to initiate talks in August, if it decided it wants coax a higher offer.Pfizer said last week it would consider a higher offer as it urged AstraZeneca's board to enter talks.Buying AstraZeneca would allow Pfizer to carry out the largest such deal yet.
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