The board of the pharmaceutical company Shire has decided to recommend an improved £46bn ($64bn) takeover bid by the Japanese firm Takeda to its shareholders.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, the company said it was “willing to recommend the revised proposal to Shire shareholders subject to satisfactory resolution of the other terms of the possible offer”, setting a new 8 May deadline for the conclusion of negotiations.
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If it goes ahead, the deal will be one of the biggest ever takeovers of a British company.
Takeda shares plunged nearly 9% on the Tokyo stock exchange, reflecting the concern of some analysts that a takeover bid of this magnitude could put too much pressure on the Japanese firm’s finances.
Shire, which has itself grown quickly from its origins above a shop in Basingstoke thanks to a series of takeovers, focuses on drugs for rare diseases and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It makes the ADHD treatment Adderall.
A deal would be the largest ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company and would propel Takeda, led by Frenchman Christophe Weber, into the top ranks of global drugmakers.
The revised proposal comprises 0.839 new Takeda shares and $30.33 in cash for each Shire share.
“On this basis the revised proposal is equivalent to a value of approximately £46bn for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company,” the Dublin-based company said.
“Shire shareholders would also be entitled to any dividends announced, declared, made or paid by Shire in the ordinary course prior to completion of the possible transaction.”
It added that at completion of the deal, Shire shareholders would own about 50% of the enlarged Takeda and the new Takeda shares would be listed in Japan and in the US.
In a statement, Takeda said only that it “notes the statement” made by the Shire board.
The Japanese firm first officially expressed interest in Shire last month, but has seen a series of offers rebuffed. The US company Allergan, which makes Botox, dropped out of the running for Shire earlier this month.
Last Friday, Takeda increased its informal bid to £42.8bn, after Shire rejected its three previous overtures as too low.