Updates from AstraZeneca and BG


Friday saw the FTSE 100 dip 17 points to 6,685. Hargreaves Lansdown took the most investor pressure, down 3.47% to 1170p while BA owner IAG also hit some gusts, down 3.22% to 400p. However Pearson saw a 3.81% climb to 1090p.

Across the water, the Dow Jones sank 140 points to 16,361, not helped by poor numbers from car maker Ford.

We start with news that Viagra maker Pfizer is looking again at an AstraZeneca takeover. Although Pfizer broke off talks with AstraZeneca near the start of the year, Pfizer is taking a second look. If it goes ahead, it would create a company worth at least £150bn.

"Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer shareholders would be expected to participate in short, medium and long-term value creation," Pfizer said in a statement, "through enhanced pipeline development opportunities, premier global operations and the anticipated realisation of operational and financial synergies."

Shares in AstraZeneca have soared by more than 25% in the last few months on better innovation pipeline momentum; it employs around 7,000 people. It's likely a deal could be highly tax-efficient for US-owned Pfizer.

Next, Ultra Electronics says it's buying Forensic Technology WAI Inc for a CAD $94m. Additional payments of up to $6m will be made subject to earnings growth in the next two years. Ultra has agreed to acquire Forensic Technology from private investors and its management team.

Forensic Technology builds automated firearm ballistics identification and forensic analysis systems; the core management team will stay with the business. The acquisition will be financed using Ultra's facilities and balance sheet.

Ultra boss Rakesh Sharma says the new acquisition has "a strong position in the international market place and its technologies and capabilities complement Ultra's broader law enforcement, security and data analytic offerings."

Lastly BG Group says it has accepted the resignation of CEO Chris Finlayson, also an Executive Director of the Board, with immediate effect, for personal reasons.

Andrew Gould, BG Group's Non-Executive Chairman, takes over as interim Exec Chairman. A recruitment process to find an external successor to Finlayson is underway, BG Group claims.

"The Board felt that it was in the best interests of the Group to accept Chris' resignation and seek fresh leadership to deliver both of these priorities," said BG Group in a statement.