Takeda’s post-merger deals continue as OTC subsidiary is prepared for sale
Takeda has been burdened under mountains of debt since acquiring Shire for $62 billion 18 months ago, but one of the company’s biggest moves yet to relieve the stress could be on the horizon.
The Japanese pharma is preparing a bidding war for its $3.7 billion over-the-counter subsidiary, a sale that would dwarf previous spinoffs. Any transaction would be the latest in what’s been a long string of sell-offs, as Takeda marches unflinchingly toward its ultimate goal of shedding $10 billion in assets.
Takeda has been actively shopping out “non-core” operations at a breakneck pace. Just last month, South Korea’s Celltrion bought a slew of “non-core” OTC and prescription drugs for $278 million from the Japanese pharma. And in April, Takeda sold a separate OTC portfolio and two manufacturing sites for $670 million to the Orifarm Group in Denmark.
The sales haven’t always gone smoothly, however. Takeda spun off its Xiidra dry-eye drug to Novartis for $3.4 billion in May 2019, but this past June the EMA shot down the proposal despite FDA approval in the US. Novartis was forced to yank its marketing campaign for the drug, resulting in a $200 million loss at Takeda in the second quarter of 2020.
The Big Pharma also teamed up with Frazier in May 2019 to spin out Phantom Pharmaceuticals to develop its former GI drug vonoprazan. Takeda further divested from other drug portfolios, negotiating a $200 million sale with Swiss pharma Acino and an $825 million sale with Brazilian pharma Hypera within the last nine months.
Takeda hopes to reach its $10 billion goal and finish its debt reduction sometime between March 2022 and March 2024. The sell-offs have not prevented the company from engaging in other potential deals, as Neurocrine Biosciences purchased a pipeline of experimental psychiatric drugs for $2 billion last month.
Takeda Consumer Healthcare, the subsidiary that manufactures popular products like Alinamin vitamin tablets and the Benza cold medicine line, would reportedly sell for around $3.7 billion and allow Takeda to focus on “higher profitability” drugs like cancer treatments.
A cadre of high-profile suitors emerged as the final bidders last month, such as Blackstone, Bain Capital and Taisho Pharmaceutical, according to a Reuters report. CVC Capital is also in play, with Taisho reportedly being the front-runner.