Takeda posts ‘for-sale’ sign on company’s ancestral home in Osaka in effort to fund Shire buyout

Faced with pressures of debt that will accompany its mammoth Shire acquisition, Takeda is selling its Osaka headquarters in a move to add about $542 million (60 billion yen) to the bank.

Christophe Weber

The news, first reported by Nikkei, comes just as the Japanese drugmaker cut the ribbon on its shining new Tokyo digs, and symbolizes — at least to some — another departure from its roots. Since its founding in 1781, Takeda has been based in Osaka.

Divesture of properties, however, should come as no surprise to company insiders, as they watched CEO Christophe Weber selling off three office buildings in Tokyo, including its former regional headquarters, in the past year or so.

Takeda is planning to initiate a bidding process by October, Nikkei reports, with hopes to find buyers by the end of the year. It, however, will continue operating out of these buildings by leasing. It’s all part of the plan to shed assets considered non-core to the drugmaking business.

At the opening of the 24-story Tokyo building that will now house Takeda’s global operations, Weber touted the “modern design leading to a Japanese root.” Here’s how Bloomberg described it: “A series of eight Japanese characters make up the patterns printed on the cream carpet, jutting out of the wooden walls and cut into metal fixtures. Employees work in an open office layout on every floor with glass meeting rooms set in a corner.”

Not everyone is pleased with Weber’s blend of Japanese heritage and global ambitions, though — or even his way of doing business.

Last week, a small coalition of old guards failed to push through a proposal that advance shareholder approval be required for an acquisition, which threatened to block the $62 billion Shire deal. It didn’t pass — not even close — but behind them a slate of analysts is lining up to poke holes in Weber’s vision for a Takeda-Shire union.

Weber has made his resolution clear, and it will be a few more months before we find out where the decisive vote falls.

Image: Takeda Osaka headquarters. TAKEDA

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