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AstraZeneca's silence on CEO helps wipe out 3 billion pounds

LONDON (Reuters) - Uncertainty over the future of AstraZeneca (AZN.L) Chief Executive Pascal Soriot drove the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's shares lower again on Friday, taking the cost of two days of silence to more than 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).

AstraZeneca has repeatedly declined to comment on an Israeli media report on Wednesday that said the well-regarded Soriot was in talks to join Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA), the world's biggest generic drugmaker.

AstraZeneca shares closed 3.5 percent lower on Thursday and were down 2.5 percent on Friday at a two-month low after the company said it would not comment on rumors or speculation. One top 20 shareholder said there had been a "newsflow vacuum".

"It's hard because companies cannot be seen to be responding to every newspaper article because once you start you cannot stop. But as we all agree, if true, then timing is 'interesting'," the shareholder said, on condition of anonymity.

The fall in shares since Wednesday has wiped 3.2 billion pounds off...


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