Business Irish

Saturday 22 September 2018

Takeda's record Shire deal could put it in global top 10

Takeda’s HQ is in Tokyo
Takeda’s HQ is in Tokyo
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed to buy London-listed Shire for £45.3bn (€51.2bn) in the biggest deal yet in a wave of deals sweeping the drugs industry. Shire rejected four previous offers.

Both companies have operations in Ireland, but they are relatively small compared to rivals like Pfizer and MDS's Irish businesses.

Takeda employs around 400 staff in three Irish units, one plant in Bray, Co Wicklow and two sites in Dublin.

Shire controversially moved its official headquarters from the UK to Ireland in 2008, helping reduce its tax bill. But its main business is in the US.

Last year, Shire leased space in the former Bank of Ireland headquarters, on Baggot Street in Dublin and said it would boost staff numbers here to 300. It also has plans for a plant in Co Meath that will employ 400.

The combined group is likely to lead to the sale of some non-core businesses.

The costs of the debt funded offer also means Takeda will seek to reduce operational costs - by slashing jobs and cutting back on duplicated drug research.

Takeda yesterday said it would maintain its global headquarters in Japan and evaluate consolidating Shire's operations into Takeda's in the Boston area, Switzerland and Singapore, without referencing the Irish operations.

Assuming it wins the backing of shareholders, the deal will be the largest overseas purchase by a Japanese company and propel Takeda, led by Frenchman Christophe Weber, into the top 10 rankings of global drugmakers.

It crowns a hectic few months of M&A activity as big drugmakers, including Novartis and Sanofi, have brought in promising medicines developed by younger firms. The enlarged group will be a Japanese national champion in pharmaceuticals and a leader in gastroenterology, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases and blood-derived therapies, used for serious conditions such as haemophilia.

Shire has profitable businesses selling drugs for hyperactivity and rare disorders but the size of the deal will make Takeda one of the most indebted drugmakers. (Additional reporting Reuters)

Irish Independent

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