Blackstone, Taisho Pharma said to be among final bidders for Takeda’s Japan OTC unit

Kabukicho, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Fabrizio Chiagano

Blackstone, Bain Capital and Taisho Pharmaceutical are among the final bidders for Takeda Pharmaceutical’s consumer drug business in Japan, a deal that could be worth up to 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion), three people familiar with the deal said.

Japan’s Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd is the front runner for the deal, all three people said. CVC Capital Partners is also among the final bidders, they said.

The sale of Takeda Consumer Healthcare Co, known for its Alinamin line of energy drinks, is part of Takeda’s efforts to shed $10 billion in non-core assets to reduce debt following its $59 billion purchase of Shire Plc.

That deal amount might fall to around 340 billion yen because Blackstone Group and the private equity firms consider the price too high, said two of those people. Taisho could go as high as 400 billion yen, they said.

Blackstone, Takeda, Taisho and Bain declined to comment. CVC was not immediately available for comment.

The price Takeda is seeking for the over-the-counter business is about 20 times EBITDA, or earnings before taxes depreciation and amortisation, said the three people. The company will close the third, and likely final, bid on Monday, they said.

The sources declined to be identified because the bidding process is private.

Shortly before the Shire deal closed in 2019, Takeda Chief Executive Christophe Weber said it was unlikely the drugmaker would offload its over-the-counter (OTC) business. But as major divestitures slowed, reaching $7.7 billion through May, the company has focused on ridding itself of non-prescription drug products, with Weber saying “we are not an OTC company.”

The Japan OTC deal is separate from the deals Takeda has struck for two other OTC units. On June 11, Takeda said it would sell OTC assets in the Asia Pacific region to South Korea’s Celltrion for $278 million. In April, it said it would offload European OTC and prescription products to Denmark-based Orifarm Group for about $670 million.

“We view the Japan consumer healthcare business in the same light as Takeda’s ongoing divestiture of global OTC assets,” said Morningstar analyst Jay Lee.

“It works towards the company’s goal of paying down debt and also allows management to focus on Takeda’s core business areas.”

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.