Markets tense after western strikes on Syria

Shares in Shire have opened 2.6% on the news, making it the biggest riser on the FTSE 100.

Shares in WPP have dropped 5% after the departure of chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

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London-listed drugmaker Shire, which specialises in rare diseases, is selling its oncology business to French drugmaker Servier for $2.4bn. The division generated revenues of $262m last year.

Shire, which is a potential bid target for Japan’s biggest drugmaker Takeda, said it would consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders through a share buyback.

While the oncology business has delivered high growth and profitability, we have concluded that it is not core to Shire’s longer-term strategy. We will continue to evaluate our portfolio for opportunities to unlock further value and sharpen our focus on rare disease leadership with selective disposals of non-strategic assets.

The proceeds from the transaction increase optionality and Shire’s Board will consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders through a shareholder-approved share buyback after the current offer period regarding Takeda’s possible offer for Shire concludes.

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