June 7, 2015 / 5:35 PM / in 2 years

Shire considers takeover of Swiss biotech group Actelion: Sunday Times

LONDON (Reuters) - Pharmaceutical company Shire (SHP.L) is considering a 12 billion pound ($18.32 billion) takeover of Actelion Ltd ATLN.VX Europe’s biggest biotech firm, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

A sign sits in front of Shire's manufacturing facility in Lexington, Massachusetts July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

An informal approach by Shire was rebuffed several weeks ago, the newspaper said, citing financial industry sources.

Shire was willing to pay 160 Swiss francs a share for Actelion, the sources said, a hefty premium to the stock’s Friday closing price of 132 francs.

Asked by Reuters for comment, a spokeswoman for Shire said the company did not comment on speculation. An Actelion spokesman said the company did not comment on market rumors.

Earlier this year, Actelion raised its full-year guidance after strong sales of its new heart and lung drug helped its first-quarter earnings exceed analysts’ estimates.

At the time, the company’s chief executive told Reuters it had not received any outside interest to buy the company.

In April, Shire reported a better-than-expected 20 percent rise in first-quarter earnings, helped by the launch of the first drug to treat binge eating disorder.

Reporting by William James; additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in Zurich; editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely

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