AstraZeneca, merger tests with Gilead in an anti-Covid key

The British pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca has come forward with the American rival Gilead Sciences for a possible merger. The Bloomberg agency reports, citing sources close to the dossier. If the operation materializes, it would be the largest ever in the sector. The British company allegedly contacted Gilead informally last month to probe his interest in a possible merger, the sources explain, specifying that AstraZeneca did not specify the terms of a possible transaction. However, the two companies have not yet started formal negotiations, the same sources specify. A spokesman for AstraZeneca, contacted by Bloomberg, responded with a no comment to what he calls “rumors and rumors.”

Both companies are currently working on the front of coronavirus: Gilead produces the antiviral drug for Covid-19 «Remdesivir»; while AstraZeneca is collaborating on the development of the anti-Covid vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. If the deal goes ahead, according to Bloomberg data, it would outperform Myers Squibb’s $ 74 billion acquisition of Celgene last year as the largest ever acquisition in the pharmaceutical sector.

Gilead, according to the same sources, would not currently be interested in selling or merging with another large pharmaceutical company, preferring to focus on smaller partnerships or acquisitions. AstraZeneca, valued at $ 140 billion, is the largest British pharmaceutical manufacturer by market capitalization. Gilead is worth $ 96 billion at Friday’s stock exchange close. AstraZeneca’s shares have grown 41% in the past 12 months, while Gilead’s shares have grown 19%.