Takeda could sell Shire eye care business after merger

Takeda could be considering selling Shire’s eye care business after their $62 billion merger next year to cut debts, according to press reports.

Citing sources close to the matter Bloomberg said the Shire’s Xiidra eye drug is among the potential divestments being assessed by Takeda.

Another possible sell-off could be Shire’s Natpara medicine, used to control low blood calcium related to parathyroid hormone, according to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources.

Takeda could raise between $4 billion and $5 billion depending on the assets that get sold, according to the sources.

Discussions are at an early stage and Takeda has not made a firm decision about what to sell off, according to Bloomberg.

There has also been interest in Takeda’s OTC business, according to the report, but Takeda’s CEO Christophe Weber told Japan’s Nikkan Kogyo newspaper in July that the company does not intend to sell its OTC operations in the island nation.

The rationale behind the merger is to reshape Takeda so that it has a suite of rare disease drugs, which Shire has assembled through its own acquisition spree over the last few years.

Takeda already has a $31 billion loan facility in place to help pay for the acquisition, the largest borrowing ever by a Japanese company for an acquisition.

Bloomberg said that neither Shire or Takeda’s representatives were prepared to comment.

The deal is set to close in the first half of 2019 if approved by shareholders, if it obtains regulatory approvals in more than 20 markets and if approved at an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders.

Competition regulators in the US and Brazil have already backed the deal, and Takeda has asked for clearance in China, Canada and Mexico.

Markets where Takeda still needs clearance include Japan and the EU – and Bloomberg noted that the merger could face tougher scrutiny in the EU where reviews assess how pharma companies compete in each of its 28 nations.

Another possible spanner in the works could come from the influential family that originally founded Takeda, who are fighting the deal along with a group of other shareholders.

Last week, Kazu Takeda, from the family group, reportedly said the takeover could be “disastrous” and risked undoing the company’s corporate philosophy called “Takeda-ism” – this states that profit comes from making people happy.


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