A Spanish firm plans to swallow the Triangle's largest biotechnology company.
Grifols SA of Spain announced this morning it plans to buy Talecris Biotherapeutics for about $4 billion, nearly nine months after Talecris' shares began trading publicly. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2010.
The deal combines two companies that create medicines from donated blood plasma. Talecris gives Grifols a strong presence in the U.S. and Canada.
Talecris shares closed at $20.01, up 25 percent for the day.
The union is just the latest twist for Talecris, based in Research Triangle Park, and its employees -- about 4,700 worldwide, including more than 2,200 in the Triangle. Many of those people work at Talecris' massive facility in Clayton, which the company is expanding after receiving the promise of up to $20 million in state and local incentives.
The company was formed in 2005 when Bayer sold its blood-plasma division for about $450 million to two private equity firms, Cerberus Capital Management and Ampersand Ventures. The investors then tried to sell the company in 2008 to Australia's CSL Ltd., but that deal ran into problems with U.S. antitrust regulators.
"We believe that Grifols' well-established reputation, know-how and expertise will enable the combined entity to meet the needs of more patients," said Talecris CEO Lawrence Stern, in a prepared statement. "Our employees will benefit from the opportunities available to them as part of a larger, global organization committed to the expansion of Talecris' existing business, the development of our pipeline products, and the maintenance of our culture of compliance and quality."
Last year, Talecris reported $1.53 billion in sales, up 12 percent from a year earlier. Profit more than doubled to $153.9 million.
But Talecris' shares, which debuted at $19 each last fall, have dropped recently as investors fret about the company's ability to maintain and raise prices amid health reform and the recession.
The acquisition rewards Talecris' investors, including many of its employees, who received shares in its initial public offering of stock. Stern held more than 5.4 million shares or options as of April, which would be worth more than $141 million in the takeover.
Grifols is paying a steep premium to buy Talecris. The deal values Talecris shares at about $26.16 in cash and Grifols stock.
The price tag is above
the $3.1 billion valuation CSL put on Talecris in 2008.
"They're paying a hefty premium to the market price which markets may not be keen on rewarding in the short term," Dirk Schnitker, an analyst at CM Capital Markets in Madrid, told Reuters. "But it's a good strategic move for the medium-long term, and one they wouldn't have taken without doing their homework."
Because Grifols doesn't have much presence in the U.S. and Canada, that could minimize layoffs as the companies join forces. But the deal is expected to generate $230 million in "operating synergies from a more efficient plasma collection network, optimized manufacturing sales, marketing and R&D," Grifols wrote in a prepared statement.