WuXi weighs going private with a deal on the table

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), China's largest CRO, is considering an offer that would take it private at a sizable premium, forming a committee of independent advisers as it plots its next move.

WuXi PharmaTech CEO Ge Li

Founder Ge Li and top shareholder Ally Bridge Group Capital Partners (ABG) are proposing to buy up all the WuXi shares they don't already own for $46 each, valuing the company at more than $3 billion and offering a more than 16% premium to the CRO's preoffer share price.

The company, following through on a promise to shareholders, has recruited a special committee of directors to vet the offer. In the group are board members Jeff Leng, Walter Kwauk and William Keller, and the committee has retained law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher to help review the proposal.

WuXi isn't making any promises or setting out a timeline for its review, saying only that it's evaluating the proposed deal.

ABG and Li, who was just named one of the most influential people in biopharma by FierceBiotech, submitted their nonbinding proposal on April 29, declining to provide a rationale for taking the company private but touting the deal as "a very attractive opportunity to the company's shareholders."

Meanwhile, the CRO is trading at an all-time high value, riding a string of profitable quarters and acquisitions in genomics and manufacturing. Last year, WuXi grew revenue 16.6% to $674.3 million, driven by a 14.2% leap in its lab services business and a 23.8% increase in manufacturing dollars.

- read the statement

Special Report: The 25 most influential people in biopharma in 2015 ​- Ge Li - WuXi PharmaTech

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