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Pharmaceuticals

Takeda to sell OTC drug unit to Blackstone for $2.3bn

Japanese pharmaceutical maker in bid to reduce debt inflated by Shire purchase

Takeda Pharmaceutical will sell wholly owned subsidiary Takeda Consumer Healthcare Company, which is involved in Alinamin and other medicine line.

TOKYO -- Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical has decided to sell its nonprescription drugs business, including vitamin drug Alinamin, to major U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group for about 250 billion yen ($2.37 billion)

The company intends to reduce debt swollen by Takeda's acquisition of Shire, the U.K. biotech company, and concentrate its management resources on developing prescription drugs, especially cancer treatments.

Takeda Pharmaceutical will sell wholly owned subsidiary Takeda Consumer Healthcare Company, which is involved in Alinamin and the Benza cold medicine line.

In fiscal 2019, Takeda Consumer Healthcare posted sales of 64.1 billion yen and an operating profit of 12.9 billion yen.

Takeda, which expects to sign the deal soon, began accepting bids in the spring. Several private equity funds and Japanese pharmaceutical companies showed interest.

Japan's over-the-counter drug market has become sluggish as the country's population declines. Takeda has been looking to sell its OTC drug business, with CEO Christophe Weber calling it "not a core business."

Takeda will now focus its management resources on more profitable prescription drugs. Takeda acquired Shire in 2019. At the end of last year, the pharmaceutical's interest-bearing liabilities were at 5 trillion yen, giving impetus to the company's plans to sell a total of $10 billion in assets.

So far, the company has decided to sell off $7.9 billion worth assets, including its medical eye drops business. With the sale of the OTC drug business, the company expects to reach its target.

Blackstone has been investing mainly in downtown buildings, hotels and other real estate-related businesses. Since 2018, it has accelerated its business investment in Japan. In 2019, it acquired Ayumi Pharmaceutical, the producer of painkiller Calonal, for 100 billion yen.

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