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VWR in talks with private equity firm for $5B buyout

May 4, 2017

Shares of VWR Corp. (VWR) are climbing this morning following reports that private-equity firm New Mountain Capital LLC could acquire the laboratory equipment manufacturer in a deal worth $4 billion.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the deal between the two companies could be struck by Friday, Reuters said, citing sources in the Journal’s report. Since the May 3 report, shares of VWR have soared nearly 30 percent, from $28.51 on to a high of $36.19. VWR has a market capitalization of $3.76 billion, Reuters said.

VWR Corp. is a major distributor of laboratory equipment across North America. The company recorded sales revenues or more than $4.3 billion in 2015.

Now comes a question of whether or not this report will prove to be true. The Motley Fool noted that recent acquisition rumors of companies like Flexion Therapeutics (FLXN) caused stocks to soar, but then crash when there was no deal. Fool analyst Brian Feroldi said it’s still anyone’s guess about the validity of these talks.

Over the past 12 months, VWR has made a spree of acquisitions and has grown significantly, which would make it an attractive target for acquisition. Even as the company has grown through deal-making, Zacks reported that it has “successfully maintained a diverse and stable customer base.”

In April, the company acquired U.K.-based MESM Ltd., a provider of laboratory and medical equipment and ancillary supplies for use in clinical trials. In March, VWR snapped up biorepository company EPL Archives, Inc. in order to expand the company’s services through its VWRCATALYST portfolio. EPL Archives operates biostorage facilities totaling over 190,000 square feet of storage space including temperature controlled, humidity controlled and ambient storage that are compliant with applicable GLP, GCP and GMP regulations.

In 2016, VWR made several acquisitions, including British Columbia-based Seastar Chemicals, a maker of high purity reagents used in the global research, laboratory and microelectronics industries. In November 2016, VWR acquired two companies, Reliable Biopharmaceutical and BioArra.

At the time of the deal, VWR said Reliable’s high quality active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and high purity ingredients (HPIs) such as cGMP excipients and advanced intermediates for the biopharmaceutical industry, will enhance the company’s rowing custom chemical and biochemical manufacturing portfolio.

The deal for BioArra, which makes origin serum-based products for use in research and production strengthens VWR’s support to cellular science customers.

Then in June 2016, VWR snapped up Netherlands-based J.M. Separations, B.V., a supplier of single-use fluid handling and separation technology products, including products for media/buffer preparation, cell harvesting and for the clarification, concentration and chromatographic processes.


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