AbbVie's raised proposal for Shire gets board backing

20th July 2014

Board of London-listed drug company in ‘detailed discussions’ with US pharmaceutical firm

A blockbuster £31bn takeover of the London-listed drug company Shire by US rival AbbVie came a step closer on Monday, after Shire’s board announced it would back the deal despite concerns over its controversial tax structure.

AbbVie has indicated that shifting its tax domicile from the US to the UK is a key part of the logic behind the proposed takeover. The drive to escape a punitive US tax regime, echoing proposals by American peer Pfizer during its failed £69bn attempt to acquire Britain’s AstraZeneca earlier this year, had alarmed the Shire board when it rebuffed an AbbVie approach last month.

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