Takeda wins shareholder approval for $58B takeover of Shire

Despite opposition by several parties, Takeda Pharmaceutical shareholders voted to approve its multibillion dollar deal to buy Shire, valued at about $58 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

About 88 percent of votes cast were in favor of the deal — which will catapult the Japanese company into a new league of drug industry giants.  Takeda will join the ranks of the world's top 10 drugmakers and gain a large portfolio of rare disease treatments.

With the deal, the drugmaker will also become one of the most indebted companies. Its high debt levels were the top concern of a group of shareholders, including descendants of the company's founder, who lobbied to block the cash-and-stock merger.

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber made a promise to shareholders to turn the deal profitable by slashing costs, predicting an annual savings of $1.4 billion three years after the deal is finalized. In addition, Takeda plans to shed up to $10 billion worth of non-core assets to minimize the debt burden of the deal.

In March, when Takeda first announced its intent to purchase Shire, the deal was valued at $62 billion. Currency fluctuations and a fall in Takeda's share price lowered that valuation.

Shire stakeholders separately voted in favor of the deal.

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