Shire would have a tougher time than AstraZeneca staying independent if expectations of a bid for the U.K.-listed pharma group prove correct. But the company has one advantage if it comes under assault – there is more chance of an auction forcing a bidder to pay up.
The political brouhaha over the failed tilt at Astra by U.S. rival Pfizer will not weigh too heavily in the mind of any potential bidder. A takeover of Shire is unlikely to engender the same political furore, given it is a smaller firm and relocated to Ireland long ago. What’s more, Shire’s $35-billion (U.S.) market cap puts it within the sights of a wider range of possible acquirers, such as Amgen or Bristol-Myers Squibb, whereas Astra failed to attract another suitor.