Pfizer is to continue buying back stock, with the board authorizing a new $11 billion share repurchase plan, deflating expectations that it will make a new bid for AstraZeneca. Shares in AstraZeneca fell 1.2 percent by 0800 GMT on Friday following the news.
Pfizer is in the middle of a strategic transformation, and has split its business into three internal units that it may eventually break into individual companies. It has tried to do major deals, including a purchase of AstraZeneca Plc that would have been the largest in industry history. The deal failed but the company has announced share buybacks worth at least $46 billion since February 2011. Of that, $31 billion has come within last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read has said the company is continuing to look at deals but investor hopes for a new bid have dwindled recently because of the introduction of new U.S. tax rules.