ADHD drug-maker Shire is looking at a £12.4bn takeover of Europe’s biggest biotech company Actelion – just months after completing another $5bn (£3.3bn) acquisition.
The Irish-headquartered firm, which is led by chief executive Flemming Ornskov, approached the listed Swiss company with a proposal for a full-blown takeover but was turned down, despite offering a 20 per cent premium to the share price.
Shire bought US firm NPS for $5.2bn in January.
Shire, listed on the FTSE 100 and worth about £32bn, was on course to be swallowed by US drug company AbbVie until the $54bn deal collapsed due to changes in US tax laws. The pharmaceutical sector has been undergoing a dramatic reshaping of boundaries over the past year as companies take advantage of their huge cash reserves, low borrowing costs and lower tax rates in Europe compared to the US to boost profits.
Shire makes drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder while Actelion makes products related to blood pressure diseases. Actelion had previously indicated it was in the market for M&A opportunities, with finance boss Andre Muller saying he was “actively looking” in April. All parties declined to comment.