(Adds details on meeting, background on companies)
July 11 Shire Plc on Friday confirmed it
has held a meeting with U.S. drugmaker AbbVie Inc to
discuss AbbVie's takeover bid for the Dublin-based maker of
drugs for rare diseases.
Shire, in a release, said it would provide a further update
"when appropriate." It added there can be no certainty that any
firm offer will be made nor as to the terms of any such offer.
The meeting, between Shire Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov
and AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez, took place Thursday in New
York, according to a source familiar with the matter.
AbbVie, which is based in suburban Chicago and makes
top-selling arthritis drug Humira and other medicines, has
offered $51 billion for Shire, hoping the deal would cut its tax
bill and diversify its product line.
But Shire has rejected three previous proposals from AbbVie,
saying they had fundamentally undervalued the company.
Some top investors in Shire have been urging it to engage
with AbbVie, after a prolonged silence from the London-listed
Shire is a serial acquirer, having done six deals since
Ornskov took the helm of Shire 14 months ago. It bought rare
disease specialist Viropharma for $4.2 billion last November in
its biggest deal yet - and Ornskov has said further "large"
deals were possible.
Drugs for rare diseases are highly lucrative, often
commanding prices of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
By moving into the field, AbbVie would make itself far less
dependent on Humira, which accounts for almost 60 percent of
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and