Takeda woos Shire shareholders with increased bid

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The Japanese pharmaceuticals company stalking Shire is expected to announce today that it is to enter preliminary talks with the drugs firm. Takeda confirmed on March 28 that it was considering an offer. Takeda was unavailable for comment.

Takeda acknowledged its offer in a brief statement, confirming that the company did make.

Shire shares surged as much as 6.2 per cent in London, valuing the company at about £37 billion ( €42 billion). The ratings firm has an A- grade on Takeda, four levels above junk, after downgrading it previous year on its $4.7 billion acquisition of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc.

S&P Global Ratings has said the acquisition could hurt Takeda's credit score, while investors have begun to demand higher premiums for holding its debt.

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It comes after Takeda's fourth bid for Shire on Friday, which was pitched at £47 a share and made up of £26 in Takeda stock and £21 in cash.

Takeda Chief Executive Officer Christophe Weber told a group of analysts at a closed-door meeting April 5 that he intends to maintain Takeda's dividend and investment grade, according to reports.

The new bid significantly decreases the proportion of the merged company that would be owned by Shire's shareholders - reducing their exposure to the sizeable risks caused by the merger of two very large and complicated companies. A Shire takeover would be by far the largest deal made by Taketa, and it would bring it medicines for rare diseases including hemophilia - a field that's luring a growing number of drugmakers because they can charge more for unique lifesaving drugs than for routine treatment.

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