Shire confident of victory in US deal

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The Independent Online

Shire Pharmaceuticals, the FTSE 100 drug company, claimed victory in its bid to win shareholder approval for its controversial $1.6bn (£837m) acquisition of Transkaryotic Therapies (TKT) yesterday, brushing aside claims that a substantial proportion of its investors opposed the deal.

Shire Pharmaceuticals, the FTSE 100 drug company, claimed victory in its bid to win shareholder approval for its controversial $1.6bn (£837m) acquisition of Transkaryotic Therapies (TKT) yesterday, brushing aside claims that a substantial proportion of its investors opposed the deal.

A handful of major shareholders have spoken out against the deal since it was announced last week, with Britannic Asset Management - which holds a 2 per cent stake - reiterating its dissatisfaction, even after a meeting with the management.

However, speaking after the company's first quarter results presentation yesterday, Matthew Emmens, Shire's chief executive, said the dissidents were merely a vocal minority rather than a serious threat to the deal's success.

"In terms of numbers, there are not that many that are sceptical," he said. "We've been to see the top 30 shareholders and when we explained the deal, most were happy with it. But you can't make everybody happy."

A shareholder vote to approve the deal will be held in July or August. However, Mr Emmens said he did not expect to have any problems in mustering the 51 per cent of the vote that he needs to complete the deal.

He reassured shareholders that the meeting would come after the results of a phase three trial for I2S, a new enzyme replacement therapy which is being developed by TKT. Mr Emmens dismissed suggestions by analysts that a poor result to the trial could derail the entire TKT deal.

He said that the chances of the trial turning out negative results was very slim. However, he insisted that even if the results were negative, it would not be "material" to the overall deal.

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