Drugmakers AbbVie and Shire have entered detailed talks about a possible combination after AbbVie raised its bid once again and offered to give Shire shareholders a bigger stake in the resulting company.
Shire said Monday that North Chicago, Illinois-based AbbVie is now offering a cash-stock combination valued at 53.20 British pounds ($91.10) for each share of Shire, which is headquartered on the British island of Jersey.
The new offer totals roughly $53.68 billion and represents an increase from AbbVie's previous proposal, which amounted to more than $51 billion. Shire PLC shareholders also would own about 25 percent of the combined new company, up from the 24 percent stake proposed in the most recent offer.
Shire had rejected several unsolicited bids from AbbVie Inc. before it asked for another revised proposal earlier this month. Shire said its board would be willing to recommend the latest bid to its shareholders if the companies resolved some other terms in the offer, which it did not detail.
The drugmaker said its board has entered "detailed discussions" with AbbVie over those terms.
Shire makes the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication Vyvanse as well as rare disease and gastrointestinal treatments. AbbVie was spun off from Abbott Laboratories at the start of last year. Its products include branded prescription drugs like the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Humira.
AbbVie executives have said the product portfolios of the two companies complement each other. The U.S. company also is interested in the tax break it could achieve through the deal.
AbbVie has said it expects the combined company to pay a tax rate of about 13 percent by 2016 after AbbVie reincorporates on Jersey. That would be down from its current rate of roughly 22 percent.
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