Blackstone Adds Takeda Unit to Health Roster

Takeda's over-the-counter business is "well-positioned to grow its established brands in Japan and launch new and expanded product offerings."
Matthew HellerAugust 24, 2020

Blackstone Group said Monday it had agreed to acquire the over-the-counter business of Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals as the private equity giant continues its push into health care.

Takeda Consumer Healthcare Co.’s (TCHC) portfolio includes the Alinamin line of energy drinks and Benza Block, a leading cold remedy. Its parent company has been shedding non-core assets to focus on new drug development and reduce debt.

Blackstone was among the final bidders for the unit along with Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, and Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings. It is valued at 242 billion yen ($2.3 billion) though Takeda said the sale price will be adjusted to reflect net debt and working  capital.

“TCHC is well-positioned to grow its established brands in Japan and launch new and expanded product offerings,” Atsuhiko Sakamoto, head of private equity for Blackstone Japan, said in a news release.

“We see tremendous potential for TCHC in Japan and throughout Asia, and we are confident that Blackstone’s global network and expertise in the sector can accelerate TCHC’s growth,” he added.

The deal is Blackstone’s second private equity transaction in Japan’s health care sector, following the acquisition of Ayumi Pharmaceutical in 2019 for $1 billion. The firm has also recently made deals with genetic medicine developer Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Reata Pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment maker Medtronic.

Over the past three years, TCHC’s revenue has fallen from 79.9 billion yen to 60.9 billion yen. Takeda CEO Christophe Weber said it would be difficult for Takeda to keep investing in OTC businesses while trying to develop new drugs.

“My responsibility is to make sure that we don’t destroy value [for OTC businesses] but create value, and to create value we need to grow businesses and it’s not good to keep a business and not invest sufficiently into that,” he said.

The Japanese firm has been seeking to cut debt since it acquired Shire Plc for $59 billion last year. It has signed deals to sell off non-core assets in several regions, including in other Asia-Pacific countries, Europe, Latin America, the Russian Commonwealth states, the Middle East, and Africa.

(Photo: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)