Takeda shareholder group aims to block $62 billion Shire deal

TOKYO (Reuters) - A group of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd 4502.T shareholders is trying to build support to block the $62 billion acquisition of London-listed Shire Plc SHP.L at an extraordinary general meeting, a leading member of the group told Reuters on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Logos of of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. are displayed at the company's news conference venue in Tokyo, Japan May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Takeda will hold the shareholder meeting later this year or early next year to approve an issue of new stock to help fund the Shire deal, making it a de facto vote on the deal itself.

The 130 member group formed by ex-Takeda employees holds one percent of the drugmaker’s shares, and needs to secure a third of shareholder votes.

It is “working steadily to increase support” for blocking the deal among domestic retail investors and overseas institutional investors who own 25 percent and 35 percent of Takeda shares respectively, the person said on condition of anonymity.

The group includes members of the founding Takeda family, Nikkan Yakugyo reported last month. The family owns about 10 percent of Takeda shares, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Last year, the same group attempted to prevent the appointment of outgoing Chairman Yasuchika Hasegawa to an advisory position at the company. Although the proposal was defeated at the company’s annual general meeting, it gained 30.5 percent of votes.

The group has a proposal at this month’s annual general meeting too, arguing that deals worth more than 1 trillion yen ($9.1 billion) should be put to a shareholder vote.

It does not expect that proposal to pass either, but hopes it will help draw attention to “what an irrational deal” the Shire transaction is, the group member said.

The group argues Takeda is taking on too much financial risk with the acquisition and says Shire's haemophilia franchise is threatened by Roche Holding AG's ROG.S new haemophilia drug Hemlibra.

Takeda Chief Executive Christophe Weber has expressed confidence shareholders will vote in favor of the deal.

Shares at the drugmaker have fallen more than 20 percent since it first said it was considering bidding for Shire.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Additional reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu;Editing by Christopher Cushing and Mark Potter