Takeda, a Japanese drug maker company to buy Shire at $62 billion

Shire PLC

Drug giant Takeda Pharmaceutical Co yesterday said it would buy Irish pharmaceuticals firm Shire PLC in a deal worth US$62.23 billion, in the biggest foreign takeover by a Japanese firm.

Osaka-based Takeda will become the world's ninth biggest drugmaker with combined sales of 2.81 trillion yen, the first time that a Japanese pharmaceutical company has joined the top 10 group.

The tie-up is also one of the largest ever in the pharmaceuticals sector, crowning a hectic few months of deal-making as large players look to improve their pipelines.

Takeda 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.

As a result of slowing growth at home, Takeda, like many Japanese companies, has been busy expanding business overseas. Last year, the company expanded its footprint in the USA oncology market with the US$4.7 billion purchase of Ariad Pharmaceuticals.

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Analysts and business professors recently predicted that the takeover will nearly certainly result in layoffs of several hundred Shire employees over the next couple of years - mostly among administrative employees whose duties could be filled by workers for Osaka-based Takeda.

Immediately following completion, Shire shareholders will own approximately 50 per cent. of the combined group. The deal is expected to close sometime in the first quarter of 2019, pending review by regulators in a number of countries including the U.S., EU, Japan and China.

While Shire's board has accepted Takeda's offer, it still requires the approval of 75% of Shire shareholders and two-thirds of Takeda investors. Its rare disease drugs have high profit margins and it also offers blood-derived therapies for serious conditions such as hemophilia. In addition, the Japanese government is increasingly pressuring drug companies to limit or cut prices of blockbuster medicines.

"There is 25 percent (of the portfolio) which is more isolated products".

Recent negotiations have centered on the structure of the potential transaction, with Shire seeking an increase in the cash component of Takeda's £46 billion (S$83.2 billion) bid, the people said. The agreement comes more than three years after United States drugmaker AbbVie scrapped its agreed takeover of the London-listed rare disease specialist, following a clampdown on tax inversion deals by the Obama administration. "That's where you could have some portfolio assessment and potentially some disposals".

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