Takeda Could Sell Some Shire Assets to Pay Down Deal Debt

stacks of coins amidst various pills

One day after it was revealed Takeda is moving its U.S. headquarters from Illinois to Boston ahead of the completion of the Shire plc acquisition, the Japanese company is reportedly considering the sale of Shire’s eye-care business in order to cut some debt incurred from funding the $62 billion deal.

First reported by Bloomberg, Takeda is considering the sale of the business, which includes the medication Xiidra, a treatment for dry eye disease. Not only is Takeda reportedly considering the sale of the eye business, but could also sell off Shire’s Natpara, a drug used to control low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) in people with hypoparathyroidism, low parathyroid hormone blood levels. The sale of these two units could generate between $4 and $5 billion for Takeda, Bloomberg reported.

However, Bloomberg was quick to point out that talks to sell these units are still in the early stages and nothing has yet been decided. Additionally, Takeda cannot sell any of the Shire products until after the acquisition is finalized, which isn’t expected to occur until the first half of next year.

In May Takeda announced it had reached a deal with Dublin-based Shire for $62 billion. When announcing the acquisition of Shire, Takeda Chief Executive Officer Christophe Weber said the deal will make the Japanese company a leader in gastroenterology, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases and plasma-derived therapies. But in order to make the significant bid for Shire, Takeda secured a bridge loan of $31 billion to finance the deal. Bloomberg noted.

While Takeda may be considering the sale of the two Shire products, the company is not currently intending to sell its own over-the-counter medicines business. In its report, Bloomberg said that the company has seen some interested potential buyers, but, as of July, Weber said he does not intend to sell.

As Takeda moves forward with its acquisition plans, the company is busy scouring the Boston area for a new potential headquarters for its U.S. operations. Takeda has had a U.S. site in Deerfield, Ill., but this week announced its intentions to relocate to Boston. The company has about 1,000 employees at its Illinois facility, but it is unknown at this time how many of those will be offered positions in Boston. Takeda already has a significant presence in the Bay State Takeda following the 2008 acquisition of Millennium Pharmaceuticals and the 2017 acquisition of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals. Takeda told the Boston Globe on Tuesday that it makes sense to have a centralized location in Boston. Being in Boston puts it operations “closer to where our future pipeline is being generated, and having Takeda US business units together to provide opportunities for employees to develop their careers across our large, diverse business.”

When the merger with Shire is complete, the combined companies will have a workforce of about 52,000 people worldwide. Layoffs between 6 and 7 percent are expected following the close of the deal, which would amount to about 3,000 lost jobs.

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