As battle over AstraZeneca looms, one lab in Slough shows mergers can work

The bid from Pfizer, now active again, has caused widespread anger. But another takeover 10 years ago was a different story

If Pfizer executives want to know how to pull off the acquisition of a British drug maker, they should visit a nondescript 1980s office block in Slough.


It would be a worthwhile visit for the US drugs firm, which is allowed to resurrect its £69bn interest in UK rival AstraZeneca after an embargo imposed by the Takeover Panel expired last week. The Slough building houses a laboratory once operated by Celltech, formerly the UK's largest biotechnology firm and now a unit of UCB, a Belgian family firm best known for its Zyrtec anti-hayfever pill. It is proof that a foreign pharmaceuticals business can launch a raid on these shores and avoid the political and public scorn that squashed the AstraZeneca bid.


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