Business / Corporate

Takeda Pharmaceutical to sell drug assets in emerging markets and Europe: sources

Bloomberg

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is close to selling some assets in emerging markets and Western Europe, people familiar with the matter said, in a move that would help the Japanese drugmaker reduce its debt pile.

Takeda may announce the sale of over-the-counter and prescription drugs in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia within weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A sale of the drugs, which Takeda acquired through its 2011 purchase of Swiss rival Nycomed, could fetch about $3 billion in total, Bloomberg News first reported in January.

The company may decide to sell the products to different buyers by geography, the people said. Acino International AG, backed by buyout firms Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners, and Stada Arzneimittel AG, owned by Cinven and Bain Capital, are among bidders for different assets, the people said. Other companies that have shown an interest in some of the assets include Brazil’s EMS SA and Uniao Quimica Farmaceutica Nacional SA, the people said.

A separate sale by Takeda of over-the-counter and prescription medicines in Western Europe has drawn interest from private-equity firms such as Advent International, which owns drugmaker Zentiva, as well as Apollo Global Management Inc. and Cerberus Capital Management, the people said. The assets could be valued at about €1 billion ($1.1 billion), people familiar with the matter said in October.

The asset sales would help Takeda reduce debt and simplify its portfolio after its $62 billion takeover of Shire PLC. The Tokyo-based company wants to offload all assets not core to its focus on gastroenterology, oncology, neuroscience, rare diseases and plasma-derived therapies, and has set a target of $10 billion worth of divestment altogether.

In May, Takeda agreed to sell eye-disease medicines to Novartis AG for as much as $5.3 billion. The drugmaker said in July that it is confident it can cut its debt to two times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in three to five years.

Deliberations are ongoing, and other bidders could still emerge, the people said. Representatives for Takeda, Advent, Apollo, Cerberus, Stada, Acino, EMS and Uniao Quimica declined to comment.