LONDON -- Shire Pharmaceuticals (IW 1000/802) has accepted a $54-billion takeover bid from AbbVie (IW 500/65) (ABBV), the two companies announced Friday, in a deal aimed at slashing the U.S. giant's tax bill.
The takeover, priced with a 53% premium for Shire stock, comes after Ireland-based Shire reversed its opposition to a deal earlier this week.
"The boards of AbbVie and Shire are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended combination of Shire with AbbVie," the two firms said in a statement.
The offer, comprising £24.44 in cash and 0.8960 AbbVie share per Shire share, is the same as the proposal received by the group last Sunday.
The global pharmaceuticals sector has witnessed a stream of multibillion-dollar deals in recent months, as U.S. companies look to Europe as a way to minimize their tax liabilities.
There were also accusations that the tie-up was a cynical ploy by Pfizer to avoid paying tax on profits if they were sent to the United States. The U.S. group had also proposed to switch its tax base to Britain from the U.S.
By Roland Jackson
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014