AbbVie Urges Shire to Enter Takeover Talks

AbbVie Urges Shire to Enter Takeover Talks

U.S. drugmaker AbbVie says its $46 billion takeover bid for Shire Pharmaceuticals offers the Irish company a fat premium and the chance to become part of a global heavyweight.

NEW YORK – U.S. drugmaker AbbVie (IW 1000/248) on Wednesday said its $46 billion takeover bid for Shire Pharmaceuticals (IW 1000/802) offered the Irish company a fat premium and the chance to become part of a global heavyweight.

AbbVie, repeatedly rebuffed by Shire since an initial cash-and-shares acquisition proposal on May 6, reiterated its latest informal bid of £46.26 ($78.59) per share.

In a fresh effort to persuade Shire, a specialist in drugs for treating attention-deficit disorder and rare diseases, AbbVie emphasized its global marketing apparatus, financial heft and the appeal of relocating itself to Britain for tax purposes.

It said a deal would "build long-term value for the patients, employees and shareholders served by both companies and deliver superior returns to shareholders."

AbbVie said its offer marked a 58% premium to Shire's valuation in April, before U.S. drug giant Pfizer (IW 500/22) spurred takeover speculation and surging shares across the global pharmaceutical industry with its $117 billion offer for Britain's AstraZeneca (IW 1000/157).

Pfizer's offer was likewise built in part on scoring tax savings by relocating the company's statutory headquarters to Britain.

But like Shire, AstraZeneca told its suitor the offer fundamentally undervalued it.

One such deal has gone through. Last week, U.S. medical-device maker Medtronic (IW 500/78) agreed to buy Irish-based competitor Covidien (IW 1000/394) for $42.9 billion in a deal that will allow Medtronic to take advantage of Ireland's lower business tax rates.

AbbVie, known for the anti-inflammatory drug Humira among other products, has until July 18 to make a formal bid for London-listed Shire under British takeover rules.

In midday trade, AbbVie shares were up 2.6% to $54.96, while Shire shares gained 1.9% in London to £44.87.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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