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Takeda enters $200M deal to divest drug assets in Middle East, Africa

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. has agreed to divest certain over-the-counter and prescription drug assets in the Near East, Middle East and Africa in a $200 million agreement with private Swiss pharmaceutical company Acino International AG.

As part of the deal, the Japanese drugmaker will sell about 30 prescription drugs and over-the-counter products in the region to Acino International, which is owned by private equity companies Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners LP.

Acino International will acquire the rights to products in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates and certain other countries that were not named in Takeda's Oct. 15 press release. Takeda will continue to manufacture the products on behalf of Acino International under an agreement.

Takeda said the divestment is part of its core strategy, which also included the acquisition of Shire PLC that was completed in January. The company said the assets are still important to patient needs but are outside of Takeda's focus areas in gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience.

"The divestment of non-core assets sold in [Near East, Middle East and Africa] represents the continued execution of our strategy to optimize our portfolio, invest in the defined core business areas, and accelerate our progress toward reaching our target leverage ratio," Takeda CFO Costa Saroukos said.

Takeda plans to use the funds from the divestment to reduce debt and deleverage while simplifying its portfolio.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019, which is January through March.

Takeda's financial adviser for the transaction is BofA Securities Inc. White & Case LLP is providing legal advice, and Deloitte is the financial consultant.

The deal with Acino International is part of negotiations reported earlier in October that also include a potential transaction with STADA Arzneimittel Aktiengesellschaft to off-load Takeda's Russian assets. Takeda was previously said to be in discussions with different buyers in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia to raise about $3 billion.