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JAPAN’S Takeda Pharmaceutical has revealed it is considering a bid for Ireland’s Shire as it seeks to accelerate its push to become a leader in specialised medicines.
The deal would see Takeda leapfrog ahead of AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly to become one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by sales.
Takeda said consideration of such an offer is at a preliminary and exploratory stage and that no approach has been made to the board of Shire.
A bid for Shire, whose drugs include Adderall – a treatment for deficit hyperactivity disorder – would follow a series of international acquisitions by the Japanese drug-maker as it seeks to make up for a slowing domestic market.
However, a move for Shire would be significantly larger than previous deals. The two companies are almost the same size, and reactions to news by analysts has focussed on the extra debt Takeda would need to take on to fuel the deal.
Takeda is already carrying around US$11bn in debt and Shire itself holds around US$20bn. While it is cheap to borrow money in Japan, the view voiced by reaction among the financial press is that Shire might be too big a pill for Takeda to swallow.
It might however, push other pharmaceutical firms to consider a bid for Shire, which was pursued by US drug-maker AbbVie, in 2014.
“Takeda publicly saying it is considering an approach for Shire inevitably means that other big pharma players including AbbVie, Novartis, Pfizer et al will equally be running the numbers with a very high likelihood of leading to a competitive M&A multi-bidder situation,” Michael Wegener, managing partner at hedge fund Case Equity Partners, told Reuters.
Under UK takeover rules, Takeda must announce whether it intends to make an offer by 17:00 BST on 25 April.
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