Scottish Daily Mail

Shire shares soar on talk of takeovers

- By Peter Campbell

MORE than £4bn was added to Shire’s market value yesterday after the drugs maker confirmed it was a takeover target.

US predator AbbVie has made three approaches for the company, Shire said yesterday – with the City widely expecting a fourth bid to be made within days. Shares soared nearly 17pc to 4371p.

Its latest £27bn offer was rebuffed by the drugs group’s board, which said it ‘fundamenta­lly undervalue­s the company and its prospects’.

Now the informatio­n is public, AbbVie must secure a takeover agreement by July 18 or walk away for six months. The move comes only weeks after a £69bn megadeal between US group Pfizer and British pharmaceut­icals giant AstraZenec­a broke down.

AbbVie’s approach for Shire is another example of a US company trying to shift its tax base out of the US, after Pfizer tried the same trick. This has led to concerns that the predatory companies are more interested in cutting their global tax bills than in developing world-leading medicines.

Shire, which makes drugs to treat ADHD and rare conditions, yesterday said it had ‘concerns’ over AbbVie’s desire to relocate its tax domicile to Ireland. Shire chairman Susan Kilsby said: ‘Shire has a long track record of delivering for shareholde­rs and addressing unmet patient needs. Our highperfor­ming management team and focused strategy are producing even stronger results, reflected in our recent top-line growth and increased profitabil­ity.’

But despite the rebuttal shares rocketed on the belief that another bid was imminent – and could be ‘hostile’, where AbbVie makes the offer straight to shareholde­rs rather than trying to secure the support of Shire’s board.

Shire has no single large shareholde­r, so it is harder for investors to band together and vote down a takeover.

It was previously approached by Botox-maker Allergan.

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