US-based private equity major TA Associates is believed to be in initial stages of talks with Ahmedabad-based Claris Lifesciences to acquire a minority stake in the company. According to merchant banking sources, TA is likely to acquire a part of the stake held by global PE major Carlyle in Claris Life. In 2006, Carlyle Group invested about $20 million through Carlyle Asia Growth Partners III to acquire 15% stake in Claris Lifesciences Ltd.

VCCircle had first reported that TA Associates, which manages $16 billion globally, was in advanced talks with two firms--in the healthcare services and pharma space---and the deals are expected to be closed in coming months. The aggregate investment for two deals would be in the range of $100 million, the report said. Mails sent to Claris Lifesciences spokesperson, TA Associates and Carlyle Group did not elicit any response at the time of publication of the report.

In an earlier interview with VCCircle, Naveen Wadhera, director, TA Associates, had said, “Healthcare, more broadly, is an area we are very bullish on and eager to participate in. We are today in discussions for advising on two healthcare investments and hoping to execute on both deals in the coming months.”

In April 2010, Claris Lifesciences Ltd had filed the Draft Red Herring Prospectus with SEBI to raise up to Rs 300 crore. With the raised money, Claris plans to set up a new plant, increase capacity of the existing plant and setting up an R&D centre. JM Financial Consultants, Edelweiss, ICICI Securities and Enam Securities are the lead managers to the issue. Claris registered a top line of about Rs 743 crore with a net profit of Rs 124 crore for the calendar year ended December 2009.

Its overseas business has contributed about 54% or Rs 406 crore of the company’s revenue, according to DRHP data. It has presence in 76 countries. Claris Lifesciences’ products range in therapeutic areas including anaesthesia, oncology, critical care, anti-infectives, renal care, infusion therapy and parenteral nutrition.

Earlier, Economic Times had reported that TA Associates was in advanced talks to buy half of Sequoia Capital’s 30% stake in the diagnostics and pathology services chain Dr Lal PathLabs for around Rs170 crore.

This year, TA Associates has invested $45 million (Rs 200 crore) in Gurgaon-based Micromax Informatics Ltd., which develops mobile phone solutions and wireless technologies. It has also invested in Idea Cellular Ltd and GlobeOp Financial Services, a specialist BPO company. TA Associates last year closed its new $4-billion fund, TA XI, L.P.

TA Associates is expanding its Indian team by appointing Dhiraj Poddar, a former director at Standard Chartered Private Equity as director at the Mumbai office. So far, TA Associates, which has invested in 400 companies, invested in about 28 healthcare service firms globally such as Twin Med LLC, Quotient Bioscience Ltd, Youth and Family Centered Services, Inc. and American Access Care while 16 investments were made in healthcare technology companies such as Alma Lasers, Ltd, Cypress Pharmceutical Inc.

According to VCCEdge data, since 1996, 134 deals worth $2.5 billion took place in Indian healthcare& pharmaceuticals space. Till date in 2010, about 11 deals worth $337 million took place in this sector.

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