HONG KONG– Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. on Tuesday reached an agreement to buy Shire PLC, capping a monthslong battle for control of the European drugmaker and marking the largest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company.
Takeda said it would buy Shire at GBP49.01 or $66.53 a share–$30.33 in cash and 0.839 Takeda share for each Shire share–valuing the Dublin-based maker of rare treatments at $62 billion. Takeda had until Tuesday to formalize an offer, withdraw it or walk away.
Takeda shares were up more than 4% on the news Tuesday, though they have fallen more than 16% since late March, when the company first expressed interest in Shire. Some shareholders are worried Japan’s largest drugmaker would pile on too much debt to fund the deal, straining itself after it borrowed money to buy an American cancer-drug maker for $5 billion last year.
Credit-ratings firm Moody’s warned last month the deal could invite a “multinotch downgrade” from Takeda’s current single-A rating.
Nevertheless, the deal would create the world’s eighth-largest drugmaker with combined sales of $30 billion. It also helps 237-year-old Takeda pivot away from its home base to more lucrative markets like the U.S. and Europe, and adds new drugs to its shrinking pool of patent-protected products.
Takeda’s unrelenting pursuit of Shire, despite the financial risks and some shareholder opposition, shows how ardently Japan’s legacy companies are chasing growth overseas, weighed down by a shrinking population and, in the case of drug companies, unfavorable government policy.
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