Best in Financial Communications 2017

Flemming ├śrnskov, Shire's CEO, wanted to transform the Ireland-based company, well known for ADHD treatments Adderall and Vyvanse, into a biotech powerhouse having a speciality in rare diseases.

Winner

FTI Consulting and Shire
Shire’s Acquisition of Baxalta

Flemming Ørnskov, Shire’s CEO, wanted to transform the Ireland-based company, well known for ADHD treatments Adderall and Vyvanse, into a biotech powerhouse having a speciality in rare diseases.

But he first needed to convince U.S.-based Baxalta, the recently spun-off rare-disease unit of Baxter, to accept its acquisition proposal. That’s exactly what FTI Consulting helped him do, resulting in Shire’s $32 billion acquisition of Baxalta. At the same time, Shire and FTI worked to fend off a takeover by another U.S.-based company: AbbVie.

Although Baxalta repeatedly spurned Shire’s public overtures, the team stayed the course, focusing on positive engagements that emphasized Shire’s shareholder-friendly governance and the combined portfolio and pipeline that Shire-Baxalta would possess. The former required extensive investigation into Shire’s corporate bylaws, followed by a similar exercise into Baxalta.

Unrelated challenges arose, including public concern with industry price gouging and tax dodging. The FTI comms team addressed all concerns as it mapped out the short- and long-term upsides of a Shire-Baxalta combination. All information was packaged and shared with investors.

As Baxalta sat on the fence, Shire wooed it to the negotiating table by stressing past successful M&As via the media. It also positioned Susan Kilsby, chair of Shire, as a dealmaker, fueling an air of inevitability. Baxalta eventually gave in.

"A great example of strategic comms leading to a positive business outcome," said one judge.

The $32 billion transaction successfully closed on June 3, 2016. Shire now has the number one platform in rare diseases and numbers among the world’s largest biotechnology companies. Analysts from 14 institutions have a "buy" rating or better on Shire.

"This really demonstrated global business negotiating expertise," said a second judge.


Honorable Mention

State Street Corp.
SHE Gender Diversity Campaign

State Street Global Advisors, the asset-management arm of State Street Corp., found a way to tackle gender diversity with SHE, a stock tied to an index filled with U.S. companies possessing high gender diversity. Social media, earned media in outlets such as Bloomberg, and special events fueled the effort. SHE had more than $278 million in assets under management as of September 2016, the most of any exchange traded fund launched in 2016, and outpaced the S&P 500 Index by more than 300 basis points.

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