Takeda Sheds OTC Division To Alleviate Debt

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest and oldest pharma companies in the world with roots dating back to the 18th century, has filed for a debt shelf. The size of the SEC filing has not been disclosed, but it comes directly on the heels of the sale of their over the counter division, Takeda Consumer Healthcare, Co.

The Japanese consumer drug company has piqued the interest of Bain Capital, Blackstone, and Taisho Pharmaceuticals. Unnamed sources who are allegedly close to the deal revealed it could be worth up to $3.7 billion (400 billion Yen). Fellow Tokyo-based pharma company Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd currently leads the bidding.

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Takeda Consumer Healthcare is known in Japan largely for their Alinamin series of energy drinks, tiny but potent beverages that are super concentrated with caffeine and vitamins, and not available in the US. Two other regional OTC deals were made this spring, as Takeda announced they would sell their Asia Pacific OTC products to South Korea’s Celltrion for $278 million, and their European OTC and prescription assets to Denmark’s Orifarm Group for $670 million.

Takeda is hoping to net a price about 20 times EBIDTA, or the earnings before taxes depreciation and amortization, but the exact numbers have not been disclosed, as the bidding is private. In 2019 Takeda’s Chief Executive Christophe Weber said they would continue to hold onto their OTC brands, but as economies have slowed down, the tune has changed. “We are not an OTC company,” Weber recently conceded.

These recent deals should help Takeda come out of the debt they incurred when they purchased Irish drugmaker Shire, a deal that closed in 2019. Distancing itself from over-the-counter markets will allow Takeda to focus on the research and development that has kept the company in high worldwide standing for decades.

Takeda was reluctant to walk away from its consumer brands, but their departure will pave the way for better research in other departments. Takeda will continue to develop novel drug therapies for treating cancer, ulcerative colitis and other digestive issues, and diseases of the central nervous system.