Takeda Family Member Speaks out Against Takeda Pharma-Shire Deal


The opposition to Takeda Pharmaceutical acquiring Shire has taken on another dimension with a prominent member of the family that created the Japanese pharmaceutical company speaking publicly against the deal.

In May, Dublin-based Shire agreed to be acquired by Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical, with both boards approving the deal. Under the terms of the acquisition, Takeda will buy Shire for about $62.2 billion, or about $66.22 per share. However, that figure doesn’t include Shire’s debt. Including the debt, the acquisition is closer to $80 billion.

A group of shareholders, which have given themselves the name Thinking about Takeda’s Bright Future (TTBF), have been attempting to halt the deal. On June 28, the group of about 130 Takeda shareholders put a proposal to a vote at the company’s annual general meeting. The proposal asked that advance shareholder approval be required for large acquisitions. The proposal only received about 10 percent of votes in favor. But the group told Reuters earlier in June that it didn’t expect the proposal to pass but would continue to work to convince a third of shareholders to vote against the acquisition later this year or at the beginning of 2019.

And the group has an influential speaker and supporter now. Kazu Takeda, one of the descendants of the founders of the 237-year-old company, is become the voice of TTBF. He told The Times, “Hasty decisions on big deals should be avoided. It will lead to disaster if there are large-scale mergers and acquisitions without careful consideration.”

Part of the opposition, Kazu Takeda says, is that the deal would undermine one of the primary principles of "Takeda-ism,” which is that the company make money by making people happy. He told The Times, “We understand that scaling up is necessary, but Takeda management has to think about the traditional corporate culture and the health of the company.”

Christophe Weber, Takeda’s chief executive officer, has largely ignored the criticism, pushing forward with the deal. In a May statement, he said, “Shire’s highly complementary product portfolio and pipeline, as well as experienced employees, will accelerate our transformation for a stronger Takeda. Together, we will be a leader in providing targeted treatments in gastroenterology, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases and plasma-derived therapies.”

The combined companies would have headquarters in Japan. Takeda shareholders would own about 50 percent of the merged companies, which would have a combined workforce of about 52,000 people worldwide. There would likely be job cuts of 6 to 7 percent, or in the low to mid-3,000s. In addition, Takeda is considering consolidating Shire’s operations into its own in Boston, Switzerland and Singapore.

The deal would strengthen Takeda’s access to the U.S. market, and Shire’s would gain more exposure in Japan and emerging markets.

“We are growing very fast right now, we are in recovery mode,” Weber told CNBC on September 4, 2017. “The key for us is to globalize our key products and globalize our company. So instead of launching a new product in two countries or three countries, we are launching these products globally. That’s very key to growing the future. At the same time, we are focusing our R&D for the long-term. That will be more productive and have a more attractive pipeline.”

Click here to get the latest life sciences news straight to your inbox. Subscribe now to our FREE newsletters

Back to news