TPG to pay $1.3bn for Canadian drug firm

Axcan Pharma has agreed to be taken private by TPG in a transaction valued at $1.3 billion. It’s the firm’s third healthcare acquisition this year.

TPG is set to bolster its healthcare portfolio with the $1.3 billion (€875 million) acquisition of Axcan Pharma, a company that develops and markets drugs to treat gastrointestinal diseases.

The buyout firm will pay $23.35 per common share, equivalent to a 28 percent premium over the Canadian pharmaceutical company’s closing share price on 28 November. Debt financing has been committed by Bank of America and HSBC.

The deal includes a break-up free provision, though details were not disclosed.

Axcan’s board has unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. It is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Todd Sisitsky, TPG partner, said in a statement that Axcan will be an important addition to the firm’s healthcare portfolio, which has made two other major acquisitions this year.

In July, TPG, along with The Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs, paid $11.4 billion for Biomet, an orthopedics device company. And in October, TPG’s Growth Fund and Biotech Fund invested more than $30 million in ShangPharma Corporation, a Chinese pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development outsourcing company.