AbbVie CEO Retracts Statement About Shire Takeover Progress

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AbbVie was forced today to retract statements made earlier this week about shareholder support for its $51.6 billion bid for Shire, which is based in London. The U.S. drug maker said it wanted to clarify certain press and wire-service reports and added that “AbbVie confirms that it has not received any written commitments of support and accordingly retracts the statements.”

AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez tells The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he believed Shire shareholders were “generally supportive of the transaction,” adding that AbbVie’s fourth offer for Shire was “responsive to the feedback we received during interactions with shareholders.”

But U.K. rules require written proof of support if such a statement is made, and AbbVie was unable to provide any when approached by the U.K. takeover panel yesterday.