The biggest deal of the year is set to be announced on Friday morning, as pharmaceutical giant AbbVie plans to announce a $53 billion acquisition of Shire, according to people briefed on the matter.
The deal will allow AbbVie, based outside Chicago, to reincorporate in Britain and reduce its tax bill, representing the largest ever merger to seek an inversion as a rush of US companies are pursuing the financial advantages of moving overseas. Shire is based in Lexington and has 1,500 employees here, though it is incorporated in Ireland.
AbbVie is pursuing the deal even as lawmakers move to crack down on the increasingly popular maneuver.
On Thursday, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, responded to calls from the Obama administration to crack down on inversions by saying he supported a short-term fix, though he suggested the administration’s initial proposal went too far.
An agreed deal between AbbVie and Shire comes after almost two months of sometimes testy negotiations. On Monday, Shire said its board had recommended a cash-and-stock deal in which AbbVie would pay about $91 a share for it.
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