Shire €53bn buyout cleared

Takeda Pharmaceutical has cleared a hurdle for its $62bn (€53bn) acquisition of Shire, receiving unconditional approval from the US Federal Trade Commission two months after sealing its biggest deal ever.

The purchase remains subject to a number of conditions, the Japanese company said in a statement, including other regulatory clearances and approval by shareholders of both companies.

Both companies have significant operations in Ireland. Shire is headquartered here for tax purposes. It employs 400 people across its Dublin head office and a manufacturing site in Co Meath, and had announced plans to double that number in the next couple of years.

Takeda has had an Irish presence for 15 years and employs 500 people at facilities in Co Dublin and Co Wicklow. Takeda had said in May it would start a review of the functions to be undertaken at Shire’s headquarters in Dublin.

The enlarged group will be a leader in gastroenterology, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases and blood- derived therapies, used for serious conditions such as haemophilia.

The commission’s nod gives a further boost to chief executive Christophe Weber’s efforts to sell the deal to investors. Japanese shareholders have been in the forefront of those criticising the company’s expansion plans and voicing concerns over risks the purchase poses to Takeda’s dividend and credit ratings.

“One of the biggest steps Takeda has to go through is getting approval from their shareholders, and the fact that they got approval from the US will help convince shareholders about the deal,” said Kyouko Amemiya, senior market adviser at SBI Securities.

Takeda’s takeover of London-listed Shire will radically transform the Japanese drugmaker, giving it wider reach and strengthening its global pipeline for lucrative products that treat rare diseases.

Nearly half of the combined company’s revenue will come from the US, while sales from Japan will shrink to 19% of the total from 34%.

While the deal received quick approval from the US, it could face tougher scrutiny in Europe. Pharmaceutical acquisitions often face detailed reviews from the European Commission as regulators look at how drugmakers compete in each of the bloc’s 28 countries, where national health systems purchase and finance drugs in different ways.

Bloomberg and Irish Examiner staff

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