Still on a cash-raising spree, Takeda shops €1.5B European drug sale: report

Takeda HQ
Takeda has recruited J.P.Morgan to help it find a buyer for some European drugs that could fetch €1.5 billion, Reuters reported. (Takeda)

Takeda’s ax is about to fall again, this time on some over-the-counter and off-patent prescription drugs in Western Europe.

The Japanese pharma, still working to pay down debt it incurred for its Shire buy, tapped J.P.Morgan to help it find a buyer—or buyers—for some European consumer and prescription drugs, Reuters reported, citing sources close to the matter.

It hopes to fetch around €1.5 billion ($1.68 billion) for the products, most of which have already lost patent protection, the newswire said.

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Who might step up to bid? Private equity funds interested in healthcare, European biopharma players and Indian or Asian drugmakers looking to expand in Europe, Reuters' sources said. For instance, the German drugmaker Stada and its backers Cinven and Bain Capital; Italy’s Recordati and its investor CVC Capital Partners; and Zentiva, which Sanofi sold to Advent International last year.

But Takeda could have competition for those bidders: They're among those who could snatch up some European OTC products from the new GlaxoSmithKline-Pfizer joint venture, Reuters recently reported.

RELATED: GSK preps for Pfizer consumer health JV with £1B in product sell-offs: report

The sale comes as Takeda continues to jettison noncore products to help pay off the debt built up during its $60 billion Shire buyout. The Japanese drugmaker has said it wants to cut $10 billion worth of assets outside its five priority business areas, namely gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience.

Takeda already sold Shire’s dry eye drug Xiidra to Novartis in a deal potentially worth $5.3 billion, and handed Johnson & Johnson its TachoSil surgical patch. It's also close to finalizing a buyer for its $1 billion Latin American business. Brazil’s largest drugmaker, EMS, is the frontrunner for that deal, and Reckitt Benckiser and Uruguay’s Megalabs are also on the shortlist, Reuters’ sources said.

Besides portfolio selloffs, Takeda is rearranging on the real estate side. Its old U.S. headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, for instance, will retire by Dec. 31. The company is moving about 1,000 employees to its new U.S. operations in the Boston area, and it’s expected to put the Deerfield facility up for sale by March next year.

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