Shire says Baxalta merger to go ahead

Shire has said its proposed merger with Baxalta will not be affected by the US crackdown on tax inversions that put an end to the Pfizer-Allergan merger.

Shares in Shire slipped on the London Stock Exchange following the US Treasury’s decision to close a loophole that allowed the $160 billion Pfizer and Allergan merger to go ahead, although they have since recovered.

The $32 billion Shire takeover, announced in January, will give the merged company a tax rate of 16-17%, down from around 25%.

This led to speculation that Shire’s takeover of rare diseases specialist may also be affected by the changes.

The US Treasury also ended AbbVie’s takeover of Dublin-based Shire in 2014 in a previous tightening on tax inversion rules.

In a short statement Shire said “it noted the US Treasury notice and anticipates the Baxalta transaction will proceed as originally announced,” adding that it still expects the deal to be complete by mid-2016.

The deal is based on a “strong strategic rationale,” said UK-listed, Dublin-based Shire said in its statement.

Baxalta, which spun off from Baxter last summer but was immediately courted by Shire, made no comment on its website.

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