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News round up: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Apple, Competition watchdog, Housing market, Mobile payments.

AstraZeneca plc's (LON:AZN) share price jumped around 1.5pc to £44.50 on Wednesday afternoon after Pfizer Inc's (NYSE:PFE) boss blamed price for the collapse of its attempted takeover. Shares closed 1.2pc up at £44.

Frank D'Amelio, chief finance officer of the US drug giant, said Pfizer had a "strong hand" on AstraZeneca but declined to say whether it would make a fresh approach for its British rival. A possible deal between the pair collapsed in May after AstraZeneca swiftly rejected Pfizer's final offer which valued the British drug maker at nearly £70bn.

Pfizer could return to AstraZeneca with a fresh offer in November, after the six-month cooling off period mandated by Britain's takeover rules. However, new talks could begin as early as August should AstraZeneca invite Pfizer to the table. - Telegraph

Apple

European regulators launched inquiries into the tax affairs of Apple,Starbucks and Fiat on Wednesday, saying sweetheart deals the companies allegedly negotiated with governments in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg could be illegal.

The European commission's top competition regulator, Joaquín Almunia, turned up the pressure for a clampdown on aggressive corporate tax planning, calling for multinationals to "pay their fair share". The commission believes any special treatment granted to the two US corporations and the Italian automotive group's finance arm could breach EU rules on state aid. - The Guardian

Competition watchdog

Britain’s leading competition watchdog will press ahead today with a crackdown on motor insurers as part of a drive to give motorists a fairer deal. In what will be seen in the City as another attack on the insurance industry after the chancellor’s overhaul of annuities in March, the Competition & Markets Authority is expected to take draconian steps to drive down costs in the £11bn-a-year motor market. - The Times

Housing market

The fast-paced recovery in Britain’s housing market has lost some of its steam as a chronic lack of new homes for sale, soaring house prices and tougher lending measures has deterred some would-be buyers.

In its latest snapshot of the UK’s property sector, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that demand for new homes in London, where many fear a bubble is emerging, has fallen for the first time since 2012 as consumers become more cautious. - The Times

Mobile payments

European regulators launched inquiries into the tax affairs of Apple,Starbucks and Fiat on Wednesday, saying sweetheart deals the companies allegedly negotiated with governments in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg could be illegal. The European commission's top competition regulator, Joaquín Almunia, turned up the pressure for a clampdown on aggressive corporate tax planning, calling for multinationals to "pay their fair share".

The commission believes any special treatment granted to the two US corporations and the Italian automotive group's finance arm could breach EU rules on state aid. - The Guardian

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