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Pamplona Capital Management has agreed to acquire Parexel International (Nasdaq: PRXL), a Boston-area contract drug research organization, for approximately $5 billion (including debt). The $88.10 per share price represents around a 5% premium to yesterday's closing price, but nearly a 28% premium to where the stock was trading in May before the first reports of a sale process emerged.

  • Why it matters: This is one of the rare cases where private equity beat out strategics on a multi-billion dollar deal, with both LabCorp and ICON reportedly having submitted bids. Let alone against an Ireland-based company like ICON, which can build sorts of tax advantages into its bid. It's also just the latest example of activist investor success, as groups like Starboard Value had been agitating for a sale.
  • Bottom line: "Parexel has just under 20,000 employees and made $605 million in revenue in the March quarter, according to its financials. But has been in the process of slimming down, as the CRO has had several rounds of job cuts since it dialed down its 2016 outlook in 2015. Those include 850 jobs announced 2015, in order to save about $20 million to $30 million a year from 2016, plus 1,100 to 1,200 worldwide announced just a few months ago, amid the buyout rumors." — Ben Adams, FierceBiotech

Go deeper

4 mins ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.