Takeda and Shire shareholders back mammoth £46bn deal

Japanese drugs firm Takeda has won shareholder approval for its £46 billion acquisition of Shire, paving the way for the deal to create one of the biggest pharmaceutical firms in the world.

Takeda said it won support from at least 88% of its shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in Osaka on Wednesday.

Shire investors also overwhelmingly gave the deal the thumbs up, with 99.8% of investors voting in favour, which means the deal is now expected to complete on January 8.

Christophe Weber, Takeda’s president and chief executive, said: “With shareholder approval secured, we are looking forward to closing the acquisition in the coming weeks to create a more competitive, agile, highly profitable, and therefore more resilient company, poised to deliver highly innovative medicines and transformative care to patients around the world.”

Shares in Shire, which have soared since the deal was announced, rose another 3% on news of the shareholder approval.

Takeda reached a deal in May to buy Irish rival Shire for £49.01 a share.

But there had been concerns the company is taking on too much debt to finance the deal and speculation had mounted ahead of the vote that some investors may vote down the deal.

Takeda expects the cash flow generated from the acquisition will help reduce the company’s debt following completion.

The company intends to reduce its debt to two times adjusted earnings within three to five years.

Takeda previously said it would divest Shire’s pipeline compound SHP647, which is currently in Phase III clinical trials, to allay concerns over a future potential overlap between the companies’ inflammatory bowel disease products.

The takeover has already secured clearance from regulators in the US, Japan, China and Brazil.

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