Wednesday 23 January 2019

Japanese drugmaker Takeda launches $50bn bid for pharma giant Shire

Takeda Pharmaceutical is considering a bid for Shire that could approach $50bn (€40bn). Photo: Stock Image
Takeda Pharmaceutical is considering a bid for Shire that could approach $50bn (€40bn). Photo: Stock Image

John Lauerman and James Paton

Takeda Pharmaceutical is considering its biggest takeover ever - a bid for Shire that could approach $50bn (€40bn) and propel the Japanese company into the ranks of the world's top drugmakers.

A combination would boost Takeda's position in drugs for cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and nervous-system ailments, adding key treatments that are in the late stages of testing, according to a statement.

Shire, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, and listed in London, gained as much as 26pc.

Takeda is ramping up its takeover ambitions under CEO Christophe Weber, who's seeking growth overseas as patent expirations and a shrinking domestic population limit opportunities at home.

The Osaka-based company did not explain how it would pay for a company whose $46bn market value tops Takeda's $42bn.

"Takeda is just desperate to beef up its pipeline, and they've been doing small bits of acquisitions on the biotech side," said Fumiyoshi Sakai, a Tokyo-based analyst at Credit Suisse Securities.

"But how they are going to finance $40-some billion? That's another one."

Takeda's announcement comes amid a flurry of transactions in the pharmaceutical sector, marked by GlaxoSmithKline's $13bn agreement to buy out Novartis's stake in their consumer-health joint venture earlier this week.

Pfizer and Merck KGaA are seeking buyers for their over-the-counter units, and Sanofi has announced more than $16bn worth of acquisitions this year.

The Osaka-based company said its consideration is at a "preliminary and exploratory stage" and it has not formally approached Shire's board. Takeda must announce its intentions by April 25 under UK takeover rules, and said there's no certainty it will bid.

Shire would give Takeda a broader portfolio in the US as well as an entree to the haemophilia market.

Combined revenue would be $31bn. (Bloomberg)

Independent News Service

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