AbbVie retracts statements suggesting Shire shareholder support for latest bid

Nassos Stylianou
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AbbVie has made an about-turn on yesterday's statement (Source: Getty)

US drugmarker AbbVie has retracted statements made by its chief executive claiming support for the company's bid for UK rival Shire.

Just a day after AbbVie made its much anticipated fourth takeover bid for the UK-listed drug company, lifting its previous offer for the group by 11 per cent to bid £30.1bn, the US firm has been forced to withdraw yesterday's comments as it has no written statement from Shire that endorses the takeover.

AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez had told a number of media outlets yesterday that he believed Shire investors were generally supportive of the proposal.

"We have met with the majority of shareholders, they understand the strategic rational. I believe they are generally supportive of this transaction and this offer is indicative of those discussions," Gonzalez told the Financial Times.

This morning, the US company was forced to issue a statement, saying:

AbbVie confirms that it has not received any written commitments of support and accordingly retracts the statements. It acknowledges that in the absence of written statements of support from shareholders it is not in a position to make any statement of shareholder support which accords with the provisions of Rule 19.3.s.

Under the provisions of Rule 19.3.s of the UK regulatory body on takeovers and mergers, a company attempting to purchase another is not allowed to claim support for its bid unless it has this in writing from shareholders.

AbbVie has been pressing hard to secure a seal a deal for Shire, a maker of speciality drugs for rare diseases and neurological disorders, upping its indicative offer to £51.15 a share, from a previous proposal valuing shares at £46.26 each.

Shire also released a statement, confirming that AbbVie "did not make the revised proposal to Shire before the announcement", urging shareholders to take no action in relation to the bid.

"There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made," the statement read.

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