Thursday 26 June 2014

Another update to my what's missing from AbbVie's £27 billion takeover bid for Shire story?

The mystery surrounding Lazard's role in the Shire/AbbVie deal continues.

I have now firmly established from very well-placed sources that Lazard was appointed as a financial adviser to Shire last year (as Ben Marlow reported in The Sunday Times last August).

However, I also understand that Lazard is now no longer advising Shire. My sources don't know why the corporate finance firm suddenly vanished from the FTSE 100 company's advisory team, which has got bigger in the last few days with the appointment of Goldman Sachs.

I guess the reasons behind Lazard's disappearance could be entirely innocent i.e. perhaps Flemming Ornskov, Shire's chief executive, had better relationships with other investment bankers.

But for those conspiracy theorists who reckon Lazard is advising a potential rival to AbbVie, you may want to focus on Amgen rather than Bristol Myers-Squibb (to be clear, this is just my speculation - I don't actually know whether Amgen is preparing a counter offer for Shire).

This is because Bristol Myers-Squibb is no longer thought to be interested in buying Shire after having had a good look last year, according to some of my sources who follow these takeover situations.

Lazard, though, worked with Amgen back in 2010 when it looked at buying Actelion, the Swiss pharmaceutical company that focuses on rare diseases, and also on the US group's $10 billion acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals last year.      

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