Shire offloads oncology business to French firm for 2.4 billion USA dollars

Shire specialises in drugs for rare diseases

Shire specialises in drugs for rare diseases

Pharmaceutical giant Shire has agreed to sell its oncology business to French firm Servier for 2.4 billion United States dollars (£1.68 billion), ahead of a potential takeover offer by Japan's Takeda.

The deal with Servier, which is headquartered in France, is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Servier has agreed to acquire Shire's oncology business for a total consideration of $2.4 billion, in cash, upon completion.

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 percent by 0835 GMT.

Ornskov also noted the Board will consider returning the proceeds of the sale to shareholders through a shareholder-approved share buyback, after the current offer period regarding Takeda's possible offer for Shire comes to an end.

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He also conceded it was sweet to triumph in a country where some critics claimed his purist principles couldn't flourish. It is the fifth time City have been English champions and the third time in the last seven seasons.

The firm, which has its headquarters in Dublin, started looking at offloading the oncology business in December, and said the process considered "multiple potential strategic buyers" across Europe, Japan and the US.

Takeda has said that adding these cancer drugs to its pipeline was part of the rationale for a takeover of Shire, allowing it to increase its presence in one of its target markets.

In addition, a tie-up would help realise the Japanese company's R&D strategy, drive financial value and allow it to exploit further opportunities in the US.

Shire announced in a statement this morning that it had inked a deal with Servier to sell its oncology business for $2.4 billion. The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol (Cal-PEG), which is under FDA review for the treatment of ALL, and early stage immuno-oncology pipeline collaborations.

Shire itself also has a track record of acquisitions, but its biggest ever deal - the $32 billion purchase of Baxalta in 2016 - was widely criticised by shareholders. "Our goal is to bring these treatments to greater numbers of cancer patients around the world", commented Servier group president Olivier Laureau.

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