Carlyle, Bain, others eyeing Claris’ injectables business

Private equity firm Carlyle Group will tie up with a drug maker to bid for the injectables drugs business of Ahmedabad-based Claris Lifesciences Ltd, according to a report.

The Mint newspaper, which reported the development, said that PE firm Bain Capital is also in discussions with Claris to acquire the asset that is targeted at the US.  

The deal size is likely to be in the range of $450 million to $500 million, the report said.

Carlyle and Bain declined to comment when contacted by VCCircle. Claris Lifesciences did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Bloomberg report on 10 August had said that bids for Claris Lifesciences were due at the end of this month and that the sellers had reached out to potential buyers including US-based Baxter International. At the time, Claris had denied the news in a stock-exchange filing.

Baxter was one of the buyers in the fray for another injectables asset, Gland Pharma, which was sold to Chinese firm Fosun International last month for $1.26 billion.  

The Mint report said Claris has hired investment banks Jefferies and Credit Suisse to run the sale process.

For Carlyle, this would be the second attempt at investing in Claris Lifesciences after it exited its previous investment last year, making 2X returns over nine years.

The PE firm had first invested $20 million in Claris in 2006 and saw the company through its initial public offering in 2010. It began exiting the firm along with other PE investors Orbimed and Signet in 2014 when Claris initiated a share buyback process.  

In 2015, media reports said that the injectables business of Claris had attracted the interest of Cadila Pharmaceuticals in a transaction worth Rs 3,400 crore, although that process hit a hurdle after Claris received a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration.

In 2012, Claris sold an 80% stake in its infusion business to Japanese firms Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Mitsui for Rs 1,050 crore while retaining the remaining stake.  

Earlier this year, the government eased foreign direct investment norms in the pharmaceuticals sector allowing foreign firms to pick up a 74% stake in Indian assets directly. Investments above this limit will need government approval.

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