June 23 - Shire is to take a leaf out of AstraZeneca's playbook by giving long-range forecasts for its drugs as it seeks to convince shareholders that AbbVie's $46 billion offer undervalues the business. Sonia Legg reports
The fight back is on - the pharmaceutical group Shire is adopting tried and tested tactics to fend off AbbVie. The US firm is offering $46 billion for the British company. Shire says it's not enough and has a promising range of drugs to prove it. It says its current products will generate sales of at least $7 billion by 2020 with $3bln coming from drugs in the pipeline. It's also a serial acquirer - and has benefitted from six deals in the past 13 months. Drugs to treat hyperactivity and rare-diseases are key to Shire's portfolio. And it's new disclosure mirrors moves made by AstraZeneca - which has been fighting off Pfizer. Both suitors are US firms which would benefit from a headquarters in a country with a lower corporate tax rate. And both know the UK is traditionally open to such approaches. Or are they? Peter Dixon is from Commerzbank. (SOUNDBITE) (English): PETER DIXON, EUROPEAN ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "I just wonder whether it is indicative of a change of heart on the part of the government which is saying we actually want to fight for our national champions and we are not particularly keen to see them go the highest bidder." There are no guarantees Shire will escape AbbVie's clutches. It's long been considered a takeover target and already conducts much of its business in the States. It also has one other key attraction - while listed in London it has been resident in Ireland for tax purposes since 2008.