Wellcome team still on the case

Wellcome has denied that Barings' troubles will hinder its financial advisers' hunt for a white knight to help the drugs group to fight off the hostile, £9.5bn bid from Glaxo, writes Martin Flanagan.

A Wellcome spokesman said that Barings' 11-strong corporate finance team, headed by James Lupton, was not involved in any way with the rescue negotiations for the merchant bank.

The spokesman said: "Corporate finance is one of the jewels in Barings' crown and a decision has been taken by the bank that the team advising Wellcome will focus completely on their client's affairs. They are highly motivated to succeed."

Many observers believe Wellcome's management, also advised by Morgan Stanley, would also have held all significant exploratory talks with potential rival suitors to Glaxo within a week of announcing this strategy on 26 January.

One industry source said: "Even if Barings went into administrative receivership, all it would mean for a counter-deal to the Glaxo bid is that the fact would be registered in the small print of a document. It is an irrelevance."

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