Backed by senior members of the founding family, the traditionalists among Takeda’s investors have made their last stand in the fight against remaking the 237-year-old company as a global heavyweight.
Opposition was rendered futile as a large majority of the Japanese drugmaker’s shareholders ultimately agreed to sanction the $62 billion takeover of Britain’s rare disease drug specialist Shire.
The decision came on Wednesday as part of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Takeda shareholders, who were asked to vote on the deal that could cement the biggest-ever acquisition of a Japanese company overseas, and vault the combined entity to one of the top 10 drugmakers in the world, but also one saddled with a hefty debt load.
The vote follows the ruling of the European Commission last month to allow the deal to consummate on the basis that Takeda will divest SHP647 so it can retain its blockbuster drug Entyvio to ameliorate antitrust concerns related to the overlap in inflammatory bowel disease treatments. The deal was struck in May under chief Christophe Weber — the Japanese group’s first non-Japanese CEO — and has already won the approval of regulators in Japan, the United States, China and Brazil.
Takeda is financing the acquisition by issuing new shares and a $30.9 billion bridge loan. The deal is expected to close on January 8th — smack in the middle of the JPM conference.
Takeda, whose revenue is shrinking as generics eat into its business, has been forced to look elsewhere to reinvigorate its growth. Shire is an attractive proposition with its arsenal of rare disease drugs, however its slate of treatments are not immune to competition either. Some Takeda shareholders have opposed the takeover on these grounds, saying the company will ultimately have to invest further in home-grown experimental therapies, or tap into other pipelines to stay competitive.
Shire is holding its own shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
Image: Christophe Weber. AP IMAGES
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