Takeda preparing to sell Japan consumer health unit to Blackstone: Kyodo

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd 4502.T is making final arrangements to sell its domestic over-the-counter (OTC) business to U.S. investment fund Blackstone Group Inc BX.N, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday.

Takeda, Japan’s largest pharma company, has been reducing its OTC assets worldwide as it seeks to refocus its business and reduce debt following its $59 billion acquisition of Shire.

Blackstone was among final bidders for the OTC unit, Reuters reported in June, along with Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co Ltd 4581.T.

Takeda is looking to sell Takeda Consumer Healthcare, known for its Alinamin line of energy drinks, for more than 300 billion yen ($2.85 billion) by the end of the month, Kyodo reported.

A Takeda spokeswoman declined to comment to Reuters on the report beyond saying it had not come from the company. A Blackstone representative was not immediately available for comment.

The Shire acquisition, completed in January 2019, expanded Takeda’s drug pipeline and diversified its global sales, but also left it heavily indebted. To reduce the debt, Takeda has pledged to dispose of $10 billion worth of non-core assets.

Takeda’s shares rose 1.1% in Tokyo versus a 0.2% gain for the broader market.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher, Rocky Swift and Junko Fujita in Tokyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Christopher Cushing