It is a few years since this type of deal has come under the spotlight. Although politicians and journalists supply the oxygen of publicity, the reality is that, as ever, the decision is in the hands of the shareholders and the competition authorities. Is that right and proper? The temptation is to tinker with the system tilting it against the “hostile” bidder. Emotions are running high because of what AstraZeneca makes (drugs not cars) and (allegedly) because of Pfizer’s track record (Sweden) but, if shareholders are content with things as they are (share price, dividend, prospects) why should they sell at all? There is a case for reviewing how other countries across the developed world would respond to this type of approach but I doubt if increasing barriers would benefit the economy in the long run and would harm the flow of inward investment. The background involving Pfizer’s cash pile and tax angle does not help their case but at least this means they apparently can afford to pay without over stretching themselves financially. The anti-market lobby will need to wait and fight another day.