Pfizer Chief Defends Merger With Allergan as Good for U.S.

Pfizer Chief Defends Merger With Allergan as Good for U.S.

Yet the two companies and their advisers are betting that the TreasuryDepartment will not be able to come up with new rules to block the union, and that Congress will fail to revamp the tax code before the merger’s expected close late next year.

And as Mr. Read has made clear publicly and privately, his main priority is doing well by his shareholders — and that means finding a way to compete with huge foreign rivals that enjoy much lower tax rates.

“We’ve assessed the legal, regulatory and political landscape and are moving forward with our strategy to combine these two great companies for the benefit of the patients and to bring value to shareholders,” Mr. Read said on Monday on a call with analysts. “That is our obligation.”

Mr. Read and those close to him have noted that Pfizer, based in New York, has been upfront about its intentions. Even after its takeover campaign for AstraZeneca collapsed, the Pfizer chief made no secret of his desire to try again, while criticizing a tax code that he said leaves his company fighting with one hand tied behind its back.

The drug maker, which manufactured penicillin during World War II, has complained that its tax rate last year was 26 percent, compared with the approximately 5 percent that Allergan’s predecessor company paid during that same time.

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