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AstraZeneca’s $39 Billion Alexion Takeover Draws Questions

  • Some doubt rationale for U.K. giant’s biggest purchase
  • AstraZeneca CEO’s focus has been on lucrative cancer drugs
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AstraZeneca to Buy Alexion in $39 Billion Deal
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AstraZeneca Plc’s shares slumped to a nine-month low after it agreed to buy Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $39 billion, with some investors questioning the strategic rationale for the U.K. pharma giant’s biggest deal ever.

The acquisition would push AstraZeneca, which has built a turnaround on its strength in oncology, into new areas such as immunology. While those are potentially lucrative and could help address the U.K. company’s relative shortage of cash, there are few synergies with existing operations. And the transaction potentially adds to longer-term risks that the company faces from patent expirations.