Business, M&A

Takeda’s old guard loses a key battle against $62B Shire buyout — but a much bigger threat looms

The old guard of ex-Takeda staffers opposed to CEO Christophe Weber’s every move failed to gather much support for one of their proposals at the company’s annual meeting this week. And that signals the steep odds they face in trying to derail the $62 billion Shire merger.

Christophe Weber

Reuters reports that the group put up a proposal that advance shareholder support be needed for an acquisition, but only gathered 10%. The group — bitterly opposed to Weber’s mandate to take the 237-year-old Japanese company and forcibly shift its focus to the global economy — countered that it’s still working to win over key votes.

The Takeda group probably never had a chance. If they did, they would have booted Weber out long ago. 

But the Takeda chief’s primary threat to his plans isn’t on the culture side. It’s the analysts who are causing real trouble.

With Roche’s Hemlibra rapidly hacking away at a core Shire franchise in factor VIII replacement for hemophilia, analysts’ mega-buck forecasts for the rival therapy underscores just how much Shire could lose, points out a recent piece in the Financial Times. And if Hemlibra shears away that cash, they ask, how could Shire be worth anything close to $62 billion?

Currently approved for hemophilia patients who have developed factor VIII inhibitors, Roche is now pitching it for all patients. And if they get it, Roche will be even better able to underprice and outmaneuver Shire — and Takeda — if the deal goes through.

On top of that, new gene therapies in the clinic could eradicate the hemophilia market entirely, wiping out whatever remains of a $4 billion Shire business.

Weber, though, insists he’s thought it all through.

“We have taken fully into consideration the Roche compound as well as the potential entry of new modalities like gene therapies, and I’m very comfortable about the assumptions we took,” he told the FT.

Quick translation: He’s not stopping. Full speed ahead on the acquisition.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
CytomX Therapeutics San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate - Demand Generation
Catalytic Data Science Charleston, SC
Associate Principal, Life Sciences Partnerships
Flatiron Health New York City or San Francisco

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