Avista, Nordic seal $439m pharma take-private

The investment comes as Avista seeks $2bn for its third fund and Nordic targets €3bn for its Fund VIII.

New York-based Avista Capital Partners and Sweden’s Nordic Capital will acquire Swiss-listed pharmaceutical company Acino for about $439 million. 

Acino manufactures innovative pharmaceuticals “in novel drug delivery forms”, according to a statement. The offer price represents a 33 percent premium to the company’s closing price on 1 October. Following completion of the transaction, Acino will be de-listed from the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Lazard and Credit Suisse are acting as financial advisors to Avista and Nordic in connection with the transaction.

Acino is not the first portfolio company to be jointly backed by Avista and Nordic. Last year, the two firms sold skincare business Fougera Pharmaceuticals for $1.5 billion alongside DLJ Merchant Banking. 

The investment in Acino comes amid large fundraising processes for both Avista and Nordic. Avista is seeking $2 billion for its third fund, which has collected at least $816 million, according to Private Equity International’s Research and Analytics division. The firm’s healthcare team focuses on companies in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and healthcare services sectors. Avista was founded in 2005 as a spin-out from Credit Suisse First Boston.

Nordic is raising its Fund VIII, which is targeting €3 billion and held a first close on €1.7 billion in February. Capital for the Acino investment will come either from Nordic’s Fund VII or Fund VIII. In July, the firm extended fundraising for Fund VIII for six months, to February 2014, a source close to the matter told PEI in a previous interview. Nordic began marketing the fund in April 2012.

Nordic has made a number of successful divestments whilst on the fundraising trail. In June, it sold IT provider EG to fellow private equity firm Axcel for between €160 million and €170 million. The sale, which was the first exit of Nordic’s Fund VII, a €4.3 billion 2008 vintage, generated a 4x return and a 30 percent IRR, a source said at the time.

Nordic also netted a 5x return in April by selling wheelchair business Permobil. The firm primarily invests in companies based in the Nordic region but often pursues follow-on investments outside the Nordic countries in continental Europe.