US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached British rival AstraZeneca to propose a £60 billion ($101 billion) takeover, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.
The paper cited senior investment bankers and industry sources saying that informal conversations about a deal had taken place between the two but that no talks were currently under way after AstraZeneca resisted the approach.
Pfizer and AstraZeneca both declined to comment.
AstraZeneca is Britain’s second-biggest pharmaceuticals group, and has been frequently touted as a potential takeover target. The company has attracted attention for experimental cancer drugs it is developing, which could interest Pfizer.
The two firms are familiar with each other’s products, working together on projects such as the pioneering of a new kind of clinical trial for cancer drugs announced last week.
Pfizer could use cash it has accumulated through overseas subsidiaries, which if repatriated to the US would be heavily taxed.
AstraZeneca has a market valuation of around $80 billion, compared with Pfizer’s valuation of $193 billion.
The drugmaker expects them to keep falling in 2014 as generic competition to Nexium, its popular heartburn and ulcer drug, takes a big bite out of US profits from late May.
Pfizer’s last big acquisition was in 2009, when it bought US rival Wyeth for $68 billion.