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As the House of Commons business and science select committees prepare to quiz the heads of Pfizer and AstraZeneca this week, the Pfizer publicity machine has stepped up a gear. In a series of short videos published on the Pfizer website the company is seeking to answer concerns raised about the proposed merger.
First up was Pfizer research head, Mikael Dolsten, who drew on his experience of five separate mergers to refute concerns that the proposed merger would disrupt research. Calling for researchers to stay “laser-focused on our important projects” Mr Dolsten said “If you keep your sense of curiosity and an open mind, you can learn tremendously.”
In a separate video Pfizer CEO, Ian Read, commented on concerns about the merging of Pfizer and AstraZeneca cultures. Saying that he believes the two companies have “very complementary cultures,” Mr Read said: “One of the most important things that you do when you do a combination is you need to believe that the cultures are similar, so you can do it quickly and you can come out with a combined company that clearly understands its objectives and is ready to go.”
The challenges of aligning cultures as part of the merger/takeover process is one on which we have commented before. If successful, a stronger entity can emerge but many M&As fail simply because the need to look for a cultural fit is overlooked.