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Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s ambitions to expand in the lucrative U.S. health care market led the drugmaker to begin a painstaking examination of Shire PLC’s assets more than two years prior to striking a $62 billion deal.

In particular, Shire’s neuroscience unit and its gastrointestinal products sparked Takeda’s interest. One hurdle, though, gave them pause: the steep purchase price.

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