Buying a non-US company would allow Pfizer to avoid repatriating a large amount of money (nearly $70 billion) from its foreign operations and exposing it to US taxes. Of course, if Pfizer wanted a substantial operation in the UK to put money into, they might have thought about not closing their large site in Sandwich back in 2011, but hey, that was all of three years ago, and who remembers such things? And not being an accountant, I can't tell you if they'd have been able to do that without running the cash past the US jurisdiction, anyway.I think everyone agrees that if Pfizer were to purchase AZ, their scientists' jobs would be not long for this world. I don't think anyone believes that Pfizer is just going to bite the tax bullet and bring those funds home; rational economic actors must be rational and tax avoidance Must Be Done.
This is a very weird unintended consequence of American tax policy. (Gimme a tax break or the scientist gets it!) I don't know what should be done about it.
(Doesn't ACS advocate for the removal of these penalties? I forget. Yes, that's right, ACS supports removing repatriation penalties. It's a good thing they know which side of the bread their butter is on.)