REPEAT-UPDATE 2-AstraZeneca, Shire dive as U.S. tax move punctures deal hopes

Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:47am EDT
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(Adds links to Breaking Views commentary)

* U.S. moves against tax-avoidance "inversion" deals

* May deter Pfizer from returning to bid for AstraZeneca

* Seen as possible threat to Shire's agreed sale to AbbVie

* Smith & Nephew, Actelion also down on fading bid hopes (Adds further analyst comments, more on other deals)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Shares in drugmakers AstraZeneca and Shire fell sharply on Tuesday after the U.S. Treasury took steps to curb "inversion" deals that allow companies to escape high U.S. taxes by reincorporating abroad.

The move could jeopardise an agreed deal for AbbVie to buy Shire for $55 billion and deter Pfizer from making another attempt to acquire AstraZeneca, after a $118 billion takeover attempt failed in May.

The slide in both companies shares wiped out around $8 billion in their combined market value, with AstraZeneca down 5.0 percent and Shire losing 6.1 percent by 1115 GMT. AbbVie lost 4.6 percent in pre-market U.S. dealings.   Continued...