The contract research organization (CRO) industry continues to consolidate at a rapid pace in response to growing demand from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. But pharma and biotech serve as the customers in this industry, not the acquirers. Nearly all the buyers in 2017 are other CRO companies that are seeking scale. Private equity is also joining the party, accounting for the remaining portion of deals, including the largest disclosed deal this year.
Last month, INC Research Holdings (NASDAQ: INCR) paid $4.6 billion for inVentiv Health, a CRO that also counts Advent International and Thomas H. Lee Partners as equal equity holders. The firms will retain their stakes following the merger.
An even bigger deal in this sector last month was Thermo Fisher Scientific‘s (NYSE: TMO) nearly $7.2 billion acquisition of Patheon N.V. (NYSE: PTHN), a contract development and manufacturing organization offering a range of active pharmaceutical ingredient and finished drug product services.
On June 9, 2017, The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and privately-held GTCR LLC, entered a joint venture agreement to acquire Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRI) in a going-private transaction. Albany Molecular Research, Inc., a contract research and manufacturing company, provides integrated drug discovery, development, and manufacturing services primarily in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
The two private equity firms paid $21.75 per share, or $935.1 million, representing a 42% premium to the 60-day weighted average closing stock price leading up to April 5, 2017. After accounting for $679 million of assumed debt, total deal value amounts to $1.6 billion. The EBITDA and revenue multiples work out to 16.81x and 2.46x, respectively.
Equity capital for Carlyle’s investment will come from Carlyle Partners VI, L.P., a $13 billion buyout fund, and equity capital for GTCR’s investment will come from GTCR Fund XI, a buyout fund with $3.85 billion. The transaction will be financed through a combination of debt and equity financing.