Takeda’s Takeover Bid for Shire: When Rumours Dilute Whisky
Appointed to his position in 2015, Christophe Weber, a French national and president and CEO of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals, had begun transforming the company into a global player. He knew that, if the business was to survive, he would have to accelerate its transformation and globalization, and he believed the solution was the acquisition of Shire, an Irish pharmaceutical company and a similar-sized firm. If successful, this would be the largest cross-border acquisition ever negotiated by a Japanese company. Weber had known that the acquisition would be costly – and controversial among the company’s shareholders, who could challenge his leadership. Although he was confident in his proposal, his bid did not go as planned. Despite his best efforts to keep the deal secret, using Japanese whisky-inspired code names for Shire and Takeda, the details had leaked before he had had a chance to inform Shire’s board of his attempt and discuss it with them. On April 8, 2018, Shire’s board rejected his offer. At the time, many questions remained as to how Takeda should proceed.