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Pfizer sweetens bid for AstraZeneca as it tries to assuage UK concerns

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LONDON - Pfizer Inc. has sweetened its offer for AstraZeneca PLC and outlined measures it hopes will ease British government concerns over the takeover.

The Viagra maker said Friday it is offering 50 pounds (US$84) a share in cash and stock, 7.3 per cent up on the previous bid. The offer values AstraZeneca at $106 billion.

Pfizer also sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, promising to keep the country's corporate and tax residence in England and saying the "golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London would represent a vital component" of the deal.

Critics fear the takeover could mean big job losses, and the potential loss of stature in the science sector has become a political issue.

Pfizer is the world's second-biggest drugmaker by revenue — while AstraZeneca ranks eighth.

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