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Takeda CEO confident of investor backing for $62 bln Shire deal

Mon 5th November, 2018 3:03pm
* Weber says deal not defensive, but will accelerate growth
    * Largest-ever overseas purchase by a Japanese company 
    * Takeda braced for more U.S. pricing pressure

    By Ben Hirschler
    LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The boss of Japan's Takeda
Pharmaceutical  4502.T  said on Monday he was confident of
securing investor backing for its $62 billion acquisition of
London-listed Shire  SHP.L , despite some shareholders' fears
about the resulting debt burden.
    Buoyed by a strong set of quarterly results last week -
helped by strong demand for its existing drugs*:nL3N1XB344 - 
Chief Executive Christophe Weber insisted that buying rare
diseases specialist Shire was not a defensive move.
    "We are quite satisfied with our current progress at Takeda.
Our business is doing well," he told the FT Global
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology conference in London. 
    "We don't have to do this Shire acquisition. We just feel it
is a way to accelerate our progress and our evolution."
    Takeda has already gained approval for what would be the
biggest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company from
U.S., Japanese and Chinese regulators - but it is still waiting
for the nod from European authorities.*:nL3N1X92S9
    Crucially, Takeda also needs two-thirds support from
shareholders. It has set Oct. 19 as the record date entitling
investors to vote in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on
the deal, allowing it to hold the meeting within a three-month
period ending Jan. 18. Alternatively, it could set a new record
    Takeda, which has a market value of around $32 billion, has
secured a $30.9 billion bridge loan to help finance the Shire
acquisition and some investors are concerned as to how well it
will cope with debt repayments.
    Weber, however, said he was confident he had persuaded
Takeda shareholders sufficiently for the company to name an EGM
date, without specifying exactly when it would be held.
    The Japanese company struck its agreement to take over Shire
in May, a deal that will propel it into the top 10 rankings of
global drugmakers by sales, alongside the likes of Novartis
 NOVN.S  and Pfizer  PFE.N .
    It will also increase Takeda's exposure to the U.S. drugs
market - the world's biggest - which will account for around
half of the enlarged group's business, just as President Donald
Trump puts a squeeze on drugmakers to cut their prices.*:nL2N1X51RI
    Weber said Trump's plans to base the price the government's
Medicare programme pays for some medications on the lower prices
paid in other countries would add to pressure but would not
undermine the fundamental attractions of the U.S. marketplace.
    "This is still the country where new innovative medicine has
the fastest access - there is this willingness to treat patients
with the latest medicine," he said.
    "My assumption always has been there would be more price
pressure in the U.S. and we have to deal with it."

 (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Potter)
 ((; +44 7542 5082; Reuters
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