Lyceum sells Synexus to LDC

The UK-based lower mid-market firm has netted a 2.8x return on the sale

Lyceum Capital, a UK-based lower mid-market firm, has sold its investment in international clinical trial research firm Synexus to LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, in an £83 million (€113 million, $128 million) deal, according to a statement.

The sale will generate a 2.8x return for Lyceum, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lyceum declined to comment beyond the statement. The deal is subject to competition clearance in Germany and expected to complete in March 2015.

Synexus’ clients include many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations, for which it recruits and treats patients in clinical trials in support of drug research. Since Lyceum took Synexus private from AIM in 2007 in an £18 million deal, it has supported the company’s growth strategy, including increasing its global footprint, pushing into new therapy areas and making targeted add-on acquisitions, the firm said.

With Lyceum’s backing, the firm has expanded in the UK and internationally, growing from 13 sites at acquisition to 25 sites in eight countries today. This has been achieved through executing a buy-and-build strategy, launching new sites and acquiring four businesses since 2007.

Having increased its contracted order book by more than £125 million to more than £140 million between the end of 2011 to 2014, Synexus has grown revenues over the same period from £17 million to £41 million. EBITDA reached £7.8 million in 2014, up 35 percent on 2012, with a further increase expected in 2015.

Synexus continued its domestic and international expansion with new site openings in Hexham in the UK, Bochum in Germany, Bucharest, Poznan in Poland and Sofia in Bulgaria. It has also acquired a site near Cape Town, South Africa. Sales from overseas operations, which stood at £8.5 million in 2011, have now reached more than £25 million.

Lyceum invested in Synexus using capital from its second fund, a £255 million 2008-vintage. The firm is currently investing from its third fund, which closed at £330 million in 2013. Since inception in 1999, Lyceum has raised more than £800 million and acquired more than 100 companies, including buy-and-build add-on acquisitions.