Welcome Back to America
Pfizer (PFE) raised more than a few eyebrows when the New York based pharmaceuticals giant announced a deal to buy AstraZeneca (AZN) and invert its corporate home to the United Kingdom, which has a lower corporate tax rate.
While the move would be the first for a Down Jones Industrial Average conglomerate, it isn't a shock. Pharmaceutical giants have been moving to low-tax jurisdictions in droves through complex merger activity, and it is possible such tax-related strategies spread to other sectors.
However, if companies as prominent as Pfizer begin to try and shift their jurisdiction abroad, it might focus Washington on corporate tax reform. A more equitable U.S. and international tax system is a major topic of discussion in C-suites and on Wall Street but nothing has been done about it for years. At some point, Washington may react. Pfizer could be a turning point.
Taxes are one of the biggest stories facing U.S. corporations, which hold trillions of dollars in foreign profits abroad. A repatriation of those profits, instead of inversions to access them could drive a renaissance of corporate investment in the U.S.
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York