September 15, 2014 / 2:05 PM / 6 years ago

EU to decide on $52 bln AbbVie, Shire deal by Oct. 16

BRUSSELS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - European Union competition regulators will decide by Oct. 16 whether to clear U.S. drugmaker AbbVie’s 32 billion pounds (51.99 billion US dollar) bid for Irish peer Shire Plc, the European Commission said on Monday.

The deal will help Chicago-based AbbVie cut both its U.S. tax bill and its dependence on its top-selling arthritis drug Humira which will lose its patent protection in 2016.

The EU antitrust authority can either clear the deal unconditionally or demand concessions if it sees potential competition issues resulting from the takeover.

The deal is the latest consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry. The Commission is now reviewing a bid by U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly for Swiss peer Novartis, and U.S. orthopaedic products maker Zimmer Holdings’ offer for Biomet Inc.

1 US dollar = 0.6155 British pound Reporting by Foo Yun Chee

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