iNVEZZ.com, Monday, June 2: Biopharma group Shire Plc (LON:SHP) has lined up a $5 billion (£3 billion) credit facility from banks to finance a takeover offer for US rare disease specialist NPS Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:NPSP), The Times has reported.
Shire’s share price, which has soared more than 50 percent over the past year, closed 1.19 percent lower at 3,414p in London on Friday.
**NPS deal speculation**
The Times today reported that Dublin-based Shire had secured a $5 billion credit facility from banks led by Citigroup to finance a takeover offer for New Jersey-based NPS Pharmaceuticals. The report came after the Financial Times blog FT Alphaville last week quoted unidentified sources as reporting that the UK biopharma company was considering a bid for the US rare disease specialist. ( Shire share price: Drugmaker eyes NPS Pharmaceuticals )
Inside sources told The Times that an initial approach to NPS by Shire had been rebuffed. A former London hospital doctor with ties to both companies, however, is understood to be acting as a go-between.
NPS’s share price added some 13 percent on Friday to $31.13 amid reports of Shire’s interest, giving the company a market capitalisation of $3.3 billion. The UK company is thought to be willing to offer $40 per share, amounting to $4 billion. The Times notes that NPS is being advised by Goldman Sachs.
A takeover of NPS would come amid increased deal activity across the healthcare and pharma sectors. AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) recently rejected a takeover approach by Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), while Stryker Corp’s (NYSE:SYK) chief executive last week revealed that his company had been evaluating a potential bid for Smith & Nephew (LON:SN). Shire itself was recently reported as having rejected an approach from Botox maker Allergan (NYSE:AGN).
Are you looking for fast-news, hot-tips and market analysis? Sign-up for the Invezz newsletter, today.
**Rare disease focus**
Shire, best known for its drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has been looking to strengthen its rare diseases portfolio as part of its ‘One Shire’ programme initiated by the group’s chief executive
Last month, Shire expanded its rare disease portfolio with the acquisition of San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company Lumena Pharmceuticals whose assets include potential treatments for patients with rare cholestatic liver disease. (Shire share price: Company buys Lumena Pharmaceuticals )
NPS’ flagship product is a drug for sufferers of a debilitating bowel condition. The company is also developing drugs for Crohn’s disease and hypoparathyroidism, a thyroid deficiency resulting in low levels of calcium in the blood.
**On May 30, buy Shire shares at 3,416.00p.**
**On May 30, sell Shire shares at 3,413.00p.**