AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s take-it-or-leave-it offer – BY BEN HIRSCHLER LONDON Mon May 19, 2014 6:22am EDT

Just Sayin'

The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014.

(Reuters) – Britain’s AstraZeneca on 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 on 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.

Shares in AstraZeneca tumbled 13 percent to 42 pounds by late morning as prospects of a takeover ebbed away. Some major shareholders expressed annoyance at the board’s stance.

Pfizer wants to create the world’s largest drugs firm, with a headquarters in New York but a tax base in Britain, where corporate tax rates are lower than in the United States. The plan has…

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