Healthcare-focused support services specialist Synergy Health (SYR) leaps 31.7% to £18.44 as the UK company became the latest healthcare target to receive a takeover offer. The proposed £19.50 per share offer comes from US infection prevention and contamination control group Steris (STE:NYSE), and values Swindon-based Synergy at £1.2 billion.

The Synergy board have understandably bitten the US firm's hand off and shareholders should be chuffed. The cash and shares deal is pitched at a 39% premium to Friday’s £14.06 closing price, and works out at 27% more than Synergy's £15.30 record high, recorded last month (19 Sep).

Steris is the latest US drug company seeking to cut its tax bill through acquisition in the UK. Assuming the deal is signed off on time by the end of March as expected, the US group stands to slice around 10% off its corporate tax rate, from 35% to 25%.

The deal has been announced despite moves by the US government to reduce the attractiveness of such tax inversions, where local companies move their headquarters overseas following an acquisition. This involves making such companies liable for US taxes when receiving a loan from a foreign subsidiary.

Web - Synergy Health - 13 October

In July US firm AbbVie(ABBV:NDQ) spent $54 billion buying rare disease drug-maker Shire (SMP), while AstraZenca (AZN) successfully rebuffed a £69 billion move from Pfizer (PLE:NYSE) a month earlier.

Synergy’s shareholders will hold 30% of the stock in the combined business, which is expected to generate $2.6 billion of sales. It will operate in 60 countries, employing 14,000 people. Synergy’s chief executive Richard Steeves is set to join the Steris’ board under the terms of the deal.

Issue Date: 13 Oct 2014