Irish drugmaker Shire will buy the American Baxter spinoff Baxalta in a $32 billion cash-and-stock deal. “Baxter fully supports the proposed combination of Shire and Baxalta, which will create a major biotechnology company and global leader in rare diseases,” José Almeida, Baxter’s international chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. Baxalta makes treatments for rare blood disorders and cancers, among other things.

As The New York Times’s DealBook reported, “part of Shire’s ability to pay such a premium for Baxalta is tax savings.” In a similar tax inversion–linked transaction initiated in November 2015, Shire bought Massachusetts-based rare disease drug firm Dyax for $5.9 billion. And in January 2015, Shire paid around $5.2 billion for New Jersey-based NPS Pharmaceuticals, a maker of drugs to treat gastrointestinal ailments.

Shire’s Baxalta buy “is the first major healthcare deal of 2016 and suggests high-profile takeovers are likely...

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