AbbVie puts $51.5B on the table in fourth go at Shire

AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez

After three failed bids for Shire ($SHPG), AbbVie's ($ABBV) hoping the fourth will be the charm. The Abbott spinoff has sweetened its offer, upping its price to £30.1 billion ($51.5 billion) to lure the Irish drugmaker to the bargaining table.

The £51.15-per-share proposal, comprising cash and stock, represents an 11% hike over the £27.3 billion offer the Irish drugmaker's board last month unanimously rejected. CEO Richard Gonzalez encouraged shareholders to prod Shire's board into discussing the deal terms, which he called "compelling."

"AbbVie will bring greater financial strength and R&D experience to this combination that will enable both companies to reach their full potential for their shareholders and patients in need across the globe," he said in a statement.

So will $51.5 billion be enough to seal the deal for AbbVie, which has been on the hunt for ways to expand beyond top-seller Humira? According to some analysts, it will. Late last month, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg put the target at $51 billion.

Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov

On the other hand, Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov has been actively advocating for a solo Shire since AbbVie made its bidding history public. He's touted doubled product sales of $10 billion by 2020, a goal analysts have said is within reach thanks to the company's rare disease and specialty focuses.

Still, as Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou put it in a June interview with Bloomberg, "it's all about price"--and AbbVie's latest may be enough to turn the tide.

"I personally think this deal will get done," he said.

- read the release

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