JLL to acquire pharmaceutical developer

The New York-based private equity firm will purchase the outstanding shares of PharmaNet Development Group for $5 a share in a deal valued at close to $100 million.

New York-based private equity firm JLL Partner is acquiring PharmaNet Development Group, a drug development services company, in a deal valued at around $98 million, with plans to close a tender for the company by the end of the first quarter.

The deal will be financed by a $250 million equity commitment from JLL, including the necessary funds to retire the $144 million principal of PharmaNet’s outstanding convertible notes. UBS Investment Bank advised PharmaNet on the deal, while Morgan, Lewis & Bockius acted as its legal counsel.

PharmaNet’s shares were trading at $1.34 at the end of Monday’s close, after reaching $42.77 a year ago and falling to a low of 67 cents in December. Under the terms of the acquisition, JLL will begin a tender offer to purchase all of PharmaNet’s outstanding shares for a cash price of $5 a share.

JLL managing director Ramsey Frank said in a statement the firm would work with PharmaNet’s management team to enhance its growth prospects and expand its portfolio of services. The firm, which has $4 billion in capital under management, traditionally makes control equity investments in mid-market companies in the manufacturing and service industries.

Last December, JLL submitted an unsolicited bid to purchase the outstanding shares of Canadian pharmaceutical maker Pantheon for $2 a share in an attempt to take control of the entire company. Its current investments include hospital acquisitions company Attentus Healthcare Co. and retail financial services provider ACE Cash Express.