- Private equity firm Carlyle Group on Wednesday announced plans to buy U.K. drug contractor Vectura in a deal that values the company at 958 million pounds, or about $1.4 billion.
- Under the agreement, which is routed through a newly formed company dubbed Murano Bidco, Vectura stockholders will receive 155 pence a share, a premium of 27% over yesterday's closing price. The transaction requires shareholder, regulator and court approval; the companies expect the purchase to close in the third quarter.
- After reaching the deal, Vectura directors scrapped plans for a special dividend and share consolidation and instead intend to pay investors a dividend of 19 pence a share on June 11. Vectura shareholders will then receive another 136 pence a share from Bidco as part of the acquisition. The company's stock rose higher in Wednesday trading in London.
The Carlyle Group created Bidco to buy Vectura, which specializes in inhalers and works with major drugmakers from Novartis to GlaxoSmithKline. The company's technology is used in 13 inhaled and 11 non-inhaled products, according to a statement on the deal.
Vectura also has a portfolio of treatments in development with partners, the companies said, although it's been less successful in bringing its own drugs to market. Vectura shelved an asthma therapy in 2018 after it failed in a Phase 3 study.
The purchase is part of a wave of investment firms buying up contractors in the pharmaceutical business. With medicines becoming increasingly complex, biotechs and traditional pharma companies are relying more and more on specialists to develop and manufacture new therapies.
In 2017, Pamplona Capital Management bought the biopharma services provider Parexel International for about $5 billion. In 2019, PE firms announced plans to buy the contract development and manufacturing organization, or CDMO, Cambrex, biological therapy developer Vibalogics and a contract manufacturing unit of Mallincrkodt. In 2020, GHO Capital Partners bought Belgian CDMO Ardena from another PE firm.
The Carlyle Group said it valued the steps Vectura has taken to build its business around inhaled medicines. "We have followed the strategic changes underway at Vectura closely and fully support the focus on building a market leading inhalation specialist CDMO," Simon Dingemans, a managing director in the firm's European buyout advisory group, said in the company's statement.
The acquisition of Vectura is through Carlyle's Europe Partners V Fund, which raised 6.4 billion euros in 2019 to invest in European companies across industries.