Shire sells cancer drugs to Servier for $2.4bn as Takeda circles

Marco Green
April 16, 2018

Shire is to sell its oncology business to France's Servier for $2.4 billion, in a move seen as a deterrent to a takeover by Takeda.

The agreement comes as Takeda's chief executive Christophe Weber is reported to be in the U.S. canvassing investor support for a potential bid for Shire, and will no doubt complicate attempts to put a fair value on the business with just a few days to go before the Japanese company must propose an offer or press pause for six months as required under European Union takeover laws.

The drugmaker said its board will consider using proceeds for a stock buyback after Takeda decides whether to go through with its contemplated offer.

Takeda, which is Japan's largest drugmaker by sales, first revealed its interest in Shire at the end of March and is said to be weighing up a US$50bn bid for the United Kingdom group.

The Oncology business consists of in-market products ONCASPAR, or pegaspargase, a component of multi-agent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and ex-US rights to ONIVYDE, a component for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Takeda, however, is also interested in Shire's rare disease portfolio, which will become the company's focus after the deal, and the sale of oncology could also make...

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber is ramping up the company's overseas takeover ambitions, as patent expirations and a shrinking domestic population limit opportunities at home. A Takeda spokesman declined to comment.

Takeda has approached lenders including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ask them about financing the proposed acquisition, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

The deal works for Servier, which has been trying to build its presence in the oncology market for the last few years, by giving an immediate presence in the US.

Shares in Shire (LON:SHP) have advanced in London this morning as the London-listed rare disease specialist offloaded its oncology business for $2.4 billion.

Takeda has said that adding these cancer drugs to its pipeline was part of the rationale for a takeover of Shire, allowing it to increase its presence in one of its target markets.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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