Nordic Capital in €9.6bn pharma exit

Nordic Capital has led a consortium of investors in the sale of pharmaceutical company Nycomed to Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The deal marks the second time Nordic has sold the Zurich-headquartered business.

Nordic Capital has agreed to sell pharmaceutical company Nycomed alongside co-investors Avista Capital Partners, DLJ Merchant Banking (the buyout arm of invest bank Credit Suisse) and Coller International Partners to Takeda Pharmaceutical Company for €9.6 billion.

Takeda is Japan's largest pharmaceutical group, and the deal is the second biggest foreign acquisition by a Japanese company according to research group Dealogic, after the $19.1 billion 2006 acquisition by Japan Tobacco of UK-based Gallaher Group.

Zurich-headquartered Nycomed makes both prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products, and delivered €2.8 billion in annual revenue in the last financial year. The company has a “significant business infrastructure in Europe and high-growth emerging markets”, according to a statement. The transaction is expected to close before the end of August.

A spokesperson for Nordic Capital was not available for comment at press time.

The sale represents the second time Nordic has exited the company following an initial investment in 1999. Nordic invested from its €1.5 billion fifth and €1.9 billion sixth fund and sold Nycomed in 2000 to DLJ Merchant Banking, The Blackstone Group and NIB Capital (now known as AlpInvest) for €1.3 billion in what was the second largest ever European secondary transaction at the time. Nycomed generated revenues of €645 million in 2004.

In March 2005, when the consortium decided to cash in their stakes, they may well have anticipated interest from other private equity houses, but ended up selling Nycomed back to Nordic for €1.8 billion, almost three times the valuation when Nordic first acquired it. Nordic agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in the business, reportedly investing €320 million of equity in the deal.

Avista invested €125 million in Nycomed in 2006 before investing again in the company in 2010. As of 19 May, the total equity investment Avista has in Nycomed is approximately  €200 million.