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AbbVie Raises Bid For Shire

by Ann M. Thayer
July 14, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 28

AbbVie is now offering $51 billion to acquire the Irish specialty pharmaceuticals firm Shire. The cash and stock offer is AbbVie’s fifth and is 11% higher than its last one, on June 25. Now in the range that stock analysts believe Shire might accept, the offer represents a 48% premium to Shire’s stock price before the first bid in early May and would give Shire’s shareholders a 24% stake in a merged company. Shire’s board says it will consider the proposal and strongly advises shareholders not to act in the meantime. AbbVie has outlined many arguments in favor of the merger, but a key one would be the lowering of its tax rate to about 13% from 22% by moving headquarters from the U.S. to the U.K. After its latest offer, AbbVie had to retract reports that it had gained support from some Shire shareholders because it did not have the written commitments required under U.K. takeover law. AbbVie is encouraging shareholders to back its proposal by July 18, the deadline by which it must make a firm offer or walk away under U.K. law.


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