• Kyodo

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Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co. will purchase Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s over-the-counter (OTC) drug unit in France for $1.6 billion (about ¥180 billion) to gain a footing in the European consumer drug market, the companies said Wednesday.

The transaction to acquire all shares in UPSA SAS from the U.S. drugmaker is expected to close by the end of June next year, subject to regulatory approval, they said.

Taisho’s expansion into the European market will follow its entry into the OTC drug market in Southeast Asia, which came in 2009 with the purchase of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Indonesian unit. UPSA’s main products include pain relievers and cold drugs.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has been reviewing its business portfolio to focus resources on developing prescription drugs.

Taisho, founded in 1912, sells such medications as cold and flu drugs, hair-loss treatment and energy drinks.

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