Japan’s largest drugmaker Takeda is considering a bid for Shire that could top $40bn (€32.2bn) and spark another takeover battle in the deal-hungry pharma industry.
The shares in Shire ended 14% higher in London. Shire currently employs around 400 people in a Co Meath campus and its Dublin head office, and has plans to hire 400 more in the coming years. Shire sells treatments for rare diseases and attention deficit disorder.
Takeda said buying it could create a global biopharmaceutical leader, boosting its position in the US, oncology, gastrointestinal diseases, and neuroscience.
The drugs industry has seen a surge in dealmaking as large players look for promising assets to improve their pipelines. In recent months, France’s Sanofi agreed to buy US haemophilia specialist Bioverativ for $11.6bn and Belgium’s Ablynx for €3.9bn.
Before that, US-based Celgene bagged cancer specialist Juno Therapeutics. The prospect of a bid for Shire immediately stoked expectations for a takeover battle.
“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,” said Michael Wegener at hedge fund Case Equity Partners, which has a stake in Shire.