Shire to Sell Oncology Unit for $2.4 Billion to Servier

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Shire's shares have lost a little over a fifth of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 1.1-percent drop in the Footsie. The deal comes after Takeda expressed interest for a complete takeover, wooed analysts for support and reportedly sought loans to fund the effort - and just days ahead of the April 25 deadline for the Japanese drugmaker to make a bid.

FTSE 100-listed biotechnology company Shire PLC said on Monday it has agreed to sell its Oncology business to France-based pharmaceutical company Servier SAS for USD2.4 billion in cash.

Takeda clearly stated that strengthening its core therapeutic area of oncology (alongside gastrointestinal and neuroscience) was a key reason it wanted to gobble up Shire. The process identified multiple potential strategic buyers across the U.S., Europe and Japan, Shire said.

A Takeda spokesman declined to comment. Shire also had debt of around $19-billion as of the end of 2017.

Ornskov said the board will consider returning the proceeds of the sale back to shareholders through a buyback programme.

Shire Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov said the sale of the oncology business to Servier demonstrated the value embedded in Shire as shares in the company rose 0.5 per cent by 0835 GMT.

Shire itself also has a track record of acquisitions, but its biggest ever deal - the $32- billion purchase of Baxalta in 2016 - was widely criticized by shareholders. In 2017, the oncology business generated revenues of $262 million.

Its oncology business had sales of $262-million past year, putting the divestment on a respectable revenue multiple of 9.2 times.

"This acquisition allows us to establish a direct commercial presence in the United States, the world's leading pharmaceuticals market, and to strengthen our portfolio of marketed products in the territories where Servier is already present". The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol, which is current under review by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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