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Blackstone-Takeda deal is good news for Japan investment bankers

Transaction is part of a trend for divestment from conglomerates to private equity.


For some time now, investment banks in Japan have been counting on a theory being correct.

It goes like this: as corporate governance and investor activism have belatedly become fixtures of Japanese corporate life, the country’s tangled conglomerates will streamline, selling non-core businesses and buying core ones. This process will lead to good times for investment bankers, particularly in M&A advisory.

August brought one of the clearest illustrations that the theory may be correct.

Blackstone bought Takeda Consumer Healthcare for Y242 billion ($2.3 billion). The opportunity came about because Takeda has been one of the leaders in this push to focus on a small number of things they are undeniably good at, such as rare diseases and neuroscience.

Last year, Takeda paid Y6.2 trillion to acquire Shire, a true benchmark transaction and the largest-ever cross-border deal from Japan. As it seeks to cut the debt from that purchase, it is selling non-core businesses, and consumer healthcare is one of them.

Blackstone, in turn, is standing ready for deals like this; the Takeda deal is only its second in Japanese healthcare after it bought Ayumi Pharmaceutical last year.

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