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Takeda moots Shire move but big questions remain

Published on 28/03/18 at 02:53pm

Takeda is considering making a bold move for Shire, after announcing, as per UK regulations, that it may make an approach for the company.

It had been considered that Shire could be a takeover approach for a big pharma company, after its merger with Baxalta, and with haemophilia products set to struggle, had weakened investor confidence in the company.

However, Takeda is the first out of the blocks to declare an intention to make a move and this could, potentially, lead to a bidding war if other companies, with the money, take a look at Shire.

Pfizer, for instance, is well known to be looking at potentially making a big acquisition and AbbVie may well return to take a look at the business, after coming close to bringing in the business in 2014 with a foiled $52 billion takeover approach.

One of the major questions for Takeda will be how it can afford such a move; Shire’s market cap ($46.3 billion) currently sits above its own ($42 billion) – though this is in part due to Takeda interest itself, which has seen the former company’s share price rocket by 17%.

It is likely that any move could set back Takeda well in excess of $40 billion and Bloomberg has estimated that it has about $4.2 billion in reserves to fall back on, as of 31 December 2017.

However, this remains speculation, as Takeda has not approached Shire’s board about any potential deal and a deadline of the 25th of April to make any firm approach leaves plenty of time for twists and turns to the story.

These are the ‘whats’ of the deal but what about ‘whys’? Since Takeda’s first non-Japanese CEO stepped into the role, Christophe Weber has been tasked with revolutionising the business and making it a top pharma business.

This has resulted in a number of small business acquisitions, such as TiGenix for $645 million and Ariad Pharma for $4.7 billion.

A move for Shire though would be in a whole different league and would greatly expand Takeda’s presence in the US, particularly in the Boston area.

The issues are that it would be a complicated business for Takeda to add to its own global operations, with Shire’s $32 billion takeover of Baxalta still being managed internally. Shire has also been active repositioning its operations as a rare disease-focused business, whilst it decides what to do with its neuroscience division.

Takeda claims that any takeover would allow it to strengthen its therapeutics areas of oncology, GI and neuroscience. Takeda’s shares were 1.91% down on the news.

Ben Hargreaves

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