Parexel raising $100M with eye on M&A

Parexel International ($PRXL) is selling off notes to raise $100 million, tapping a group of institutional investors for cash that will help it expand its capacity around the globe.

In a private placing, Parexel is trading 7-year notes for money to pay down debt, repurchase some stock and bankroll future buyouts, CEO Josef von Rickenbach said, continuing the CRO's path of growth-by-acquisition.

Just where the outsourcing giant will turn for its next deal remains a mystery. In the spring, CFO James Winschel told investors Parexel was weighing between 15 and 20 acquisitions spanning the globe. The company has had its eye on the Middle East, Winschel said, considering buys in Turkey or the Arabian Peninsula.

Parexel has hardly been shy about spending over the past year, in May signing a $24 million deal for Heron, a U.K.-based life sciences consultancy that provides commercialization guidance to clients.

Perceptive Informatics, Parexel's eClinical segment, is the company's fastest-growing business, and executives have said in the past that they may look to broaden their IT capabilities through M&A. The CRO did just that this winter when it spent $72 million on Liquent, maker of software solutions for submissions and registrations. Since then, Parexel has invested in its global eClinical scale, opening a facility in Shenyang, China, in May to expand the market for its clinical IT offerings there.

- read the announcement

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The money will be used to expand its footprint in both China and the U.S., including a new R&D operation in Boston.