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Pharmaceutical chemical maker Cambrex to go private

The private equity firm Permira will acquire it for about $2.4 billion

by Michael McCoy
August 7, 2019


A photo of Cambrex's site in North Carolina.
Credit: Cambrex
Cambrex acquired this North Carolina pharmaceutical chemical plant in 2016.

The small-molecule drug services firm Cambrex has agreed to be acquired by the private equity firm Permira in a transaction worth about $2.4 billion, including debt. If the deal is completed, Cambrex will follow AMRI, another large US-based pharmaceutical chemical firm, in leaving the stock market for private ownership.

Under the deal, Cambrex shareholders will receive $60.00 in cash per share, a 47% premium to the firm’s Aug. 6 closing stock price. Cambrex has the right to solicit acquisition proposals from other parties during a 45-day “go-shop” period.

With sales last year of about $515 million, Cambrex is one of just a few companies in the pharmaceutical chemical field to be publicly traded—and the only one based in the US. Under the leadership of long-time CEO Steven M. Klosk, the firm acquired two significant drug-service businesses from private equity firms over the past year: Avista Pharma Solutions, for $252 million, and Halo Pharma, for about $425 million.

Permira, which already owns LSNE, a US-based contract manufacturer of finished drugs, says it will back Cambrex in its next phase of growth. “Cambrex will continue to invest aggressively in our commitment to our global customer base,” Klosk adds.

In going private, Cambrex is following the lead of AMRI, a pharmaceutical chemical maker that was taken private in 2017 by two investment firms in a $1.5 billion deal. As is now the case for Cambrex, AMRI was acquired after making several acquisitions of its own. Since then, though, AMRI has announced no significant deals.



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