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Parexel International to be taken private for $5 billion

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