Shire lays out defence against anticipated fourth takeover bid

Michael Bow
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HARMA giant Shire will today try to get on the front foot in its bid to deflect a mooted fourth takeover offer by US rival AbbVie.

The group will host a high stakes conference call with investors at lunchtime today where chief executive Flemming Ornskov (pictured) is expected to lay out plans to double revenues to $10bn by 2020 as a standalone firm.

Shire on Friday said it had rebuffed three bids by AbbVie – which relies on arthritis drug Humira for most of its sales – which started at £39.50 a share and rose to £46.26 a share.

It values the company at about £27bn.

AbbVie, which was spun out of another US pharma giant Abbott Laboratories last year, is widely expected to return to the table with an improved offer before the July 18 Takeover Panel deadline.

Shire’s tactic has strong echoes of Astrazeneca’s successful reproach to Pfizer’s mammoth £69bn takeover bid earlier this year, when the group’s target of increasing revenues by 75 per cent by 2023 won round investors.