Shire props up European shares on bid hopes

Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:56am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct

* Shire up 13 percent as AbbVie confirms rejected bid

* Telenor falls as Norway plans stake reduction

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - A rally in drugmaker Shire helped European bourses hold onto gains on Friday on news the British firm had been the target of a takeover bid from U.S. rival AbbVie.

Shares in Shire rose 13 percent to 42.31 pounds after AbbVie confirmed it had made a bid approach, which was rejected by Shire's board.

AbbVie said its final indicative offer was worth 46.26 pounds, adding talks are no longer ongoing.

Shire has been seen as a prime takeover target for U.S. drugmakers thanks to a mid-sized market value and its tax base in Ireland, where effective corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world.

"I'd probably take some profit there and then go back in," said Mike Reuter, a broker at Tradition. "The stock won't crash. It's an M&A candidate and I think there will be an offer, eventually."

Shire's stock added 0.8 points to the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, which was up 1.3 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,396.91 points at 0743 GMT.

The index, which hit a 6-1/2 year high on Thursday, was on track for its 10th consecutive weekly gain, extending its longest winning run since August 2012.

Among top fallers was Norway's Telenor, down 2.3 percent after the country's trade minister said the government would ask parliament for the right to cut its stake in the telecommunications company and industrial group Kongsberg Gruppen.

State-controlled French utility EDF fell 1.3 percent, down for a second day as analysts at UBS and Natixis cut their target price on the stock in light of the government's decision to scrap a planned increase in electricity prices.

"The 2013 re-rating of EDF was to a large extent driven by a change in investor perception, because the regulatory environment seemed to become more reliable and predictable," UBS analysts wrote in a note.

"Therefore, the cancellation of the already agreed tariff hike could lead to an increased risk perception on lower regulatory visibility."

Around Europe, the Euro STOXX 50 index of euro zone blue chips was down 0.1 percent while Britain's FTSE added 0.3 percent.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alison Williams)

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