Takeda's multibillion-dollar emerging market, European drugs cull could be near: report

Cash register full of money
Takeda could reach selloff deals for some of its drugs in emerging market and Western Europe soon, Bloomberg reported. (Michael Burrell/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Takeda’s effort to whittle down the huge debt load incurred in its Shire buy is about to take a major step forward, as buyers to some assets in emerging markets and Western Europe could be settled soon.

Some Takeda over-the-counter and prescription drugs in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia could be sold in the coming weeks, Bloomberg reported, per people familiar with the matter. The news outlet previously said the drugs, transferred to Takeda via its 2011 Nycomed buyout, could fetch about $3 billion.

The products might go to different buyers by geography, the people told Bloomberg. Among the bidders are Acino International AG, backed by buyout firms Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners; Stada, owned by Cinven and Bain Capital; and Brazil’s EMS Pharma, the news service reported.

After folding in Shire, Takeda racked up 115.9 billion Japanese yen ($1.08 billion) from emerging markets sales in the three months ended in June. Its fiscal 2018 sales in those countries—before the Shire buy—amounted to JPY 291.5 billion ($2.71 billion).

But apparently, Takeda wouldn't jettison all of that business, because some products belong in Takeda’s key areas of focus. These fields are gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience. Takeda’s entire Latin American business, however, may be chopped off for $1 billion, Reuters previously reported, and EMS was then cited as the front-runner for a deal.

RELATED: Takeda whittles away costs—and assets—to keep its debt-cutting promises

Separately, some Takeda OTC and off-patent prescription drugs in Western Europe have attracted the interest of several private equity firms. Zentiva owner Advent International, Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital Management are said to be eyeing the €1 billion ($1.1 billion) basket of assets. Stada was previously cited as a potential buyer as well, but CEO Peter Goldschmidt in August told Reuters the German generics maker didn’t necessarily need those Takeda drugs.

All told, Takeda is targeting $10 billion worth of divestments to help cut down its debt, which ballooned after the Shire takeover. A big chunk of that planned selloff has already moved along; Takeda sold Shire’s dry-eye drug Xiidra to Novartis for $3.4 billion up front plus up to $1.9 billion in potential milestone payments.

As of June, before the Xiidra deal, Takeda’s net debt was 4.4x that of its adjusted EBITDA, slightly down from 4.7x at the end of March. The ultimate goal is to bring the ratio down to 2x in three to five years.

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