Signage for Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is displayed on the exterior of the company’s building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. (Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg)

Takeda Is Said to Near Preliminary Agreement to Acquire Shire

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(Bloomberg) -- Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is nearing a preliminary agreement to acquire Shire Plc after the Japanese drugmaker sweetened its roughly $60 billion bid for the biotechnology behemoth, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The two companies have been working on a tentative agreement on price and may announce a preliminary accord as early as Tuesday, the people said, declining to be identified as the discussions are confidential. Takeda, which faces a deadline Wednesday under U.K. takeover rules to announce a firm offer or abandon its pursuit, and Shire may also seek an extension from authorities to finalize talks, they said.

Talks may still be delayed or fall apart, they said. A representative for Takeda declined to comment and Shire couldn’t immediately comment.

Acquiring Shire would vault Takeda, which has few late-stage experimental drugs in its own pipeline, into the ranks of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies. The Japanese company last week raised its offer to 47 pounds a share and lifted the cash portion of the bid after a number of previous proposals were rejected.

Friday’s proposal included 21 pounds a share in cash and 26 pounds apiece in new stock for Shire, whose market value has soared to about $48 billion since the takeover interest was disclosed last month.

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