FTSEurofirst hits 6 1/2-yr high as Shire surges on takeover offer
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, hits new 6-1/2-yr high
* Pan-European index heads for 10th straight week of gains
* Shire surges about 20 pct on takeover approach
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - The FTSEurofirst 300 index climbed to a 6 1/2-year high on Friday and headed for its 10th straight week of gains, as shares of the drugmaker Shire surged after it got a takeover offer.
Shire rose almost 20 percent to 44.66 pounds after AbbVie confirmed it had made an offer to acquire it. Shire's board rejected the offer, saying it fundamentally undervalued the company and its prospects.
AbbVie said its final offer was worth 46.26 pounds a share, adding that talks with Shire have ended. Shire has been seen as a prime takeover target for U.S. drugmakers, thanks to a mid-sized market value and its tax base in Ireland, where effective corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world.
"We have had a dearth in M&A activity in the last few years but it does appear to be picking up as business confidence has improved. This is supportive for the market," Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC, said.
"Investors' attention will start to shift from macroeconomic data to the second-quarter earnings numbers. We are relatively optimistic on the outlook for European earnings and expect them to grow by 12 percent this year and the next." Continuación...