CRO giant inVentiv Health could be in line for a $500M IPO

InVentiv CEO Michael Bell

In keeping with a trend among pharma outsourcers, inVentiv Health is considering going public, according to Reuters, lining up underwriters for a return to Wall Street that could raise $500 million.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reports that inVentiv's private equity owners have retained Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley to begin the IPO process, adding that an offering could come later this year depending on market conditions.

The move would mark a second IPO for inVentiv, which went private in 2010 through a $1.1 billion acquisition by Thomas H. Lee Partners. In the years since, the CRO has extended its global scope through a slew of buyouts and expansions, now employing more than 14,000 people in clinical and commercial roles around the world. In the first 9 months of last year, inVentiv booked $1.5 billion in revenue, a roughly 10% jump over the same period in 2014.

InVentiv's path back to Wall Street mirrors a popular pattern in the CRO business. Quintiles ($Q), PRA Health Sciences ($PRAH), Catalent ($CTLT) and INC Research ($INCR) were all acquired private by private equity over the past decade, and each has since gone public, generating big returns for its owners.

PPD, acquired by Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman for $3.9 billion in 2011, is reportedly on the same track, with the CRO's owners rumored to be moving toward a sale or IPO that would value the company at between $7 billion and $8 billion.

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