Market Report: Just weeks after Pfizer walked away, Shire may have lined up a bid for NPS


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The Independent Online

Investors are still smarting from the collapse of one potential billion-dollar drug deal, but could a successful tie-up be on the horizon?

Just weeks after Pfizer walked away from attempts to takeover AstraZeneca, Shire has reportedly lined up a $5bn (£2.9bn) credit line to make a bid for US rare disease specialist NPS Pharmaceuticals.

Traders and analysts welcomed the news, with Credit Suisse calling a potential deal an “attractive fit”. Shire, up 68p at 3482p, has already been on the prowl in this sector, acquiring rare disease group Lumena for $260m last month.

Elsewhere, AstraZeneca put on 87p to 4370.5p after announcing good news from trials of two of its new cancer treatments.

Positive manufacturing data from China helped the FTSE 100 climb 19.59 points to 6864.1 yesterday, with miners recovering from Friday’s slump to add 8.3 points to the index. But traders were reluctant to push the index into record territory, ahead of ECB president Mario Draghi’s eagerly awaited keynote speech on Thursday.

Standard Life tumbled 6.7p to 393.3p after reports in the press over the weekend that corporate pensions could be due for a shake-up.

The results of the latest review of the blue-chip index were revealed, with bookmaker William Hill, up 2.2p at 357.8p, and Melrose Industries, down 0.1p to 279.9p, set for the drop. Private equity group 3i, 4.5p lower at 427.4p, and shopping centre owner Intu Properties, up 1.7p at 316.7p, will be bumped up.

The mid-cap index will meanwhile be welcoming a flurry of recent floats: Just Eat, up 5p at 250p, AO World, down 1p at 269p, Pets at Home, up 4.75p at 212p, and Poundland, off 11p at 332.25p.

Leni Gas & Oil, one of the many operations of serial Aim entrepreneur David Lenigas, broke 2p for the first time in nearly three years after reporting good results from the first well of its new drilling programme in Trinidad. The company closed up 0.55p at 2.03p.

Shale gas operators Union Jack Oil, up 0.05p to 0.37p, and Egdon Resources, 2.12p better at 28.5p, climbed after strong reserves were discovered at a field in Leicestershire that both have interests in.

IGas also rose 3.5p to 135.5p after revealing plans to stake claims to two sites in the East Midlands.