CD&R exits from VWR(2)

US buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice sold VWR International yesterday. The firm also revealed yesterday it was entering into its first ever deal partnership with rival buyout firm KKR.

US buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has sold laboratory supply company VWR International to rival buyout firm Madison Dearborn Partners for around $3.5 billion to $4 billion (€2.6 billion, €3.3 billion).

Test tubes: one of VWR’s products. 

VWR had revenues in 2006 of over $3.2 billion making it the second largest distributor in the global laboratory supply industry. The company supplies chemicals, glassware and plasticware, safety equipment and instruments to companies. During CD&R’s ownership, VWR’s EBITDA increased by 60 percent.

Richard Schnall and George Jaquette of CD&R were directors of VWR, and CD&R operating partner Charles Banks served as its chairman.  CD&R acquired VWR from pharmaceutical company Merck in April 2004 for $1.65 billion with an equity investment of $420 million.  


The transaction will probably close in the third quarter of 2007.

CD&R also purchased US Foodservice yesterday for $7.1 billion in its first ever partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Analysts believe the acquisition of the food business is a defensive move to protect against the event of a market downturn at this late stage of the economic cycle.       

CD&R also recently floated Rexel for around €1 billion ($1.36 billion, £680 million)on 4 April, the largest initial public offering on the French market this year. It is reportedly mulling the sale of food distribution company Brakes for around £1.2 billion ($2.4 billion, €1.76 billion).