Monday 23 June 2014

What's missing from AbbVie's £27 billion takeover bid for Shire?

It struck me as I was going over the weekend media coverage of AbbVie's £27 billion takeover bid for FTSE 100-listed Shire that something was missing. That something is Lazard.

I mean, I think the pertinent question is what role has the venerable financial adviser got on this deal? The reason I ask is that up until now, the corporate finance house has been linked with a having a role on various sides of this multi-billion pound pharmaceutical deal.

In the Spring of 2013, I was told by excellent sources that Bristol Myers-Squibb, the US pharmaceutical giant, had asked bankers at Lazard to look at buying Shire.

Hacks over at the Wall Street Journal clearly were thinking along similar lines when they published this piece: 

However, in August 2013, Ben Marlow - an excellent M&A journalist who broke the story about Pfizer weighing a £70 billion bid for AstraZeneca this year - reported that Shire had in fact hired Lazard as a 'defence adviser' following an informal approach from Bristol Myers-Squibb earlier in the year.

Here is a link to Marlow's piece: 

So I was surprised to see that Lazard was not listed a defence adviser alongside Citigroup, Evercore and Morgan Stanley on Shire's press release last Friday while it was widely reported over the weekend that JP Morgan is advising AbbVie on its tilt for the FTSE 100-listed company.

Could it be that Lazard is working for Shire in the shadows behind Citigroup, Evercore and Morgan Stanley? Or has the financial adviser hopped back to Bristol Myers-Squibb's side of the table? I'm sure the market will find out soon enough...

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