Report: Medpace up for $1.2B sale as CRO M&A heats up

CRO Medpace is on the block and could go for up to $1.2 billion, Reuters reports, as private equity owner CCMP Capital Advisors could be looking to cash out while the market for contract researchers remains bullish.

CCMP bought Medpace just two years ago, but the New York-headquartered outfit has already retained Jefferies to scout for buyers and is in the midst of early talks, Reuters sources say. That's a short gestation period in private equity terms, and CCMP is likely motivated by recent high-dollar consolidation in the CRO space and long-running market optimism for pharmaceutical outsourcing companies.

The private equity firm traded roughly $485 million for an 80% stake in Medpace back in 2011, Reuters notes, and if CCMP can secure a $1.2 billion cashout after just two years, the popularity of CROs as M&A targets is likely only to swell.

Over the past few years, sizable CROs have traded hands for weighty deals, including KKR's $1.3 billion grab for PRA, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman's $3.9 billion acquisition of PPD, and a $1.1 billion leveraged buyout that took inVentiv Health off the public market.

Under CCMP's watch, Medpace has expanded its global footprint, opening offices across Europe and buying up smaller CROs to stretch out its offerings in medical device development.

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