Takeda Pharmaceutical has moved a step closer to lodging a US$50bn bid for Shire PLC (LON:SHP) after reports emerged that Japan’s largest drugmaker has sounded out its major creditors for loans to help fund the deal.
Buying Shire would be transformational for Takeda, which believes a deal would strengthen its core therapeutic areas of oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience, while Shire’s rare disease franchise would also boost its position in specialised medicines.
But it won’t be easy, and any deal would be a huge financial stretch, given that Shire is worth around US$10bn more than the Japanese group.
Shire first told investors about Takeda’s interest at the end of March and expectations that a bid will be lodged before the April 25 deadline have mounted since Takeda’s boss Christophe Weber held a meeting with analysts about the deal last week.
At that briefing, which was closed to journalists, Weber said that Takeda was mulling a takeover offer for all of Shire and that there was scope to increase debt, according to analysts.
According to two Reuters sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the Japanese drugs giant has now sounded out creditors, including its main bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
Reports in Japan have suggested that Takeda is looking for loans of several trillion yen – equivalent to tens of billions of dollars – in total from several banks.
Representatives for Takeda, Shire and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp were not immediately available for comment.
Shire shares were up 2.1% to £36.65 in early afternoon trade, and they have now gained almost 25% since news of Takeda’s interest first broke.