UPDATE 1-Shire hits record high as drugmaker braces for takeover bids

Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:51am EDT
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* Shire expecting to receive approaches, taps Citi -sources

* Stock up as much as 4 percent at all-time high

* Going shopping itself may be way to stay independent (Adds more on share price rise, analyst comments)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Shire hit a record high on Tuesday on expectations of a takeover as dealmaking sweeps the drugs sector, after Reuters reported the group had hired investment bank Citi as a defence adviser.

Potential acquirers are eyeing the drugmaker's tax base in Ireland, where effective corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world, as well as its fast-growing portfolio of drugs to treat hyperactivity and rare diseases.

Sources familiar with the matter said the London-listed company was expecting to receive takeover approaches following a wave of deals in the healthcare sector focused on achieving lower tax bills. Shire and Citi declined to comment.

Shire is a relative rarity in being a mid-sized drugmaker with no controlling shareholder, making it a perennial subject of takeover talk. Speculation of a bid has grown since April, when Pfizer's interest in acquiring AstraZeneca fired up the wider industry.

Sector bankers think it could appeal to U.S. pharmaceutical and biotech firms such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen , Abbvie, Gilead and Biogen Idec .   Continued...