European shares weighed down by UK pharma as Shire bid in jeopardy

miércoles 15 de octubre de 2014 04:28 GYT
 

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct, FTSE 100 down 1 pct
    * Shire down 26 pct as U.S.' AbbVie reconsiders bid
    * UK healthcare shares plummet

    By Francesco Canepa
    LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - European shares fell on
Wednesday, weighed down by UK healthcare stocks after U.S.
pharmaceutical firm AbbVie Inc said it was having
second thoughts about bidding for British peer Shire. 
    Shares in Shire plummeted 26 percent by 0757 GMT after
AbbVie said it would reconsider a recommendation to shareholders
to vote in favour of the 32 billion pound ($54.7 billion) merger
due to changing U.S. tax regulations. 
    AbbVie had previously been eager to buy Shire, partly due to
the opportunity to reduce its U.S. tax bill by moving its tax
base to Britain. 
    Wednesday's drop, the sharpest since Feb 2002, takes Shire's
stock back where it was when news of AbbVie's interest broke in
June. 
    Other UK healthcare stocks including AstraZeneca,
which turned down a Pfizer approach earlier this year,
also fell as the chances of a bid from U.S. suitors were seen as
diminishing. 
    "In the absence of a bid, these stocks will return to their
previous levels," Justin Haque, a broker at Hobart Capital
Markets, said.
    At 0757 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
 was down 0.6 percent at 1,285.72 points, with Britain's
FTSE 100 down 1 percent.
    The FTSEurofirst has fallen roughly 9 percent since
mid-September as the region's economic outlook has worsened and
stimulus measures unveiled by the European Central Bank, which
include a programme to buy asset-backed securities and covered
bonds, failed to reassure the market.
    Norwegian oil firm Statoil  fell nearly 3 percent
in brisk volume after its chief executive Helge Lund resigned to
become the new head of Britain's BG. Shares in the UK gas
major rose 1 percent.  
    French food group Danone bucked the trend, rising
4.4 percent after a better-than-expected rise in underlying
third-quarter sales on Wednesday, helped by improving baby food
sales in Asia. 
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
    Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
    Today's European research round-up 

 (editing by John Stonestreet)