Cerberus-backed biotech firm files $894m IPO

This is the firm's third exit attempt for Talecris, which previously had a $3bn trade sale and $1bn IPO fall apart. If successful, it would be the largest US IPO in 2009.

Talecris Biotheraputics, formed in 2005 when Cerberus Capital Management and Ampersand Ventures purchased Bayer's plasma products business, aims to raise up to $894 million in an initial public offering.

If successful, it would be the largest IPO for a company in the US this year. Mead Johnson Nutrition raised $828 million for its IPO in February, while Kohlberg Kravis Roberts- and Silver Lake-backed semiconductor company Avago raised $648 million in August.

The biotech company intends to list on the Nasdaq exchange, selling 44.7 million shares priced between $18 and $20 each. The offering is being underwritten by seven banks led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citi and JPMorgan.

Cerberus and Ampersand would sell roughly 16 million of their shares in Research Park, North Carolina-based Talecris, bringing their stake to 60.5 percent, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company plans to use its proceeds to pay down debt.

The offering would net Talecris about $515 million, while Cerberus and Ampersand would pocket around $300 million, according to The Triangle Business Journal, which based its calculations on a $19 share price.

The regional business journal said the $300 million is roughly equivalent to the amount of equity the firms sunk into the company's $590 million buyout in 2005.

“Between its launch in 2005 through the end of 2007, Talecris invested in excess of $550 million to support the growth of the business,” notes the company's website.

Cerberus and Ampersand have been trying to exit Talecris since June 2007, when it filed for a $1 billion IPO. The offering was reportedly never priced, and in August 2008 it agreed to a $3.1 billion buyout by Australian biopharmaceutical company CSL. In June 2009, the CSL deal was scrapped over concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission, causing CSL to pay a $75 million break-up fee. The FTC's concerns were later dismissed, according to SEC documents.

Talecris employs more than 4,500 people worldwide, and last year had revenues exceeding $1.4 billion.