Takeda explores $1B-plus sale of chemicals stake: Bloomberg

Takeda is finally on the up-and-up after posting growth in its last fiscal year. And to help keep that growth coming, it’s exploring an asset sale to drum up cash.

The Japanese drugmaker is considering selling off its majority, 72% stake in chemicals business Wako Pure Chemical Industries Ltd., a transaction that could bring in more than $1 billion, sources tell Bloomberg. It’s working with advisers at Nomura Holdings on a divestment, which could attract interest from companies such as Fujifilm and private equity outfits including Permira Advisers and Carlyle Group.

If Takeda does decide to sell, “it seems like they can sell at a premium,” Iwai Cosmo Securities analyst Kazuyoshi Saito told the news service. “They will be able to divert funds to businesses they prioritize, such as oncology and gastrointestinal areas.”

Oncology and GI are areas where Takeda has newcomer drugs that boosted the pharma in its last fiscal year, ended in March. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease med Entyvio and multiple myeloma drug Ninlaro weathered hefty competition to chip in revenue that pushed Takeda’s total up 1.7% for the year. Entyvio, in particular, came up big, spurring a 23.6% year-over-year sales leap for the company’s GI portfolio.

And Takeda is counting on those therapies to keep the revenue expansion coming. In May, it guided to sales growth in the mid-single-digits range, as well as underlying core earnings and underlying core EPS expansion in the low- to mid-teens.

If the company does pull off a Wako sale, it wouldn’t be the first time lately that it jettisoned a non-core asset. Last year, Takeda agreed to hand its respiratory business to AstraZeneca ($AZN) for $575 million.

And as far as that trend goes, it’s certainly not alone among its pharma peers. Plenty of other drugmakers have sold off or are looking to dispose of meds and units that don’t fit in with the rest of their portfolio or aren’t critical to their top lines--including Valeant ($VRX), whose new CEO Joseph Papa says the company is pursuing transactions that could help make its business less complex. AstraZeneca has been particularly aggressive in this realm, having raised some billions of dollars in the last few years by selling off assets it calls non-core. In June, for example, it off-loaded an anesthetics portfolio to Aspen Pharmacare for up to $770 million. 

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