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Exclusive: Dunedin in exclusivity over Pharmalink

Private equity house Dunedin is in exclusivity to buy the regulatory affairs consultancy Pharmalink, HealthInvestor understands.  

The firm has been valued at around 10 times its latest ebitda, said a source close to the matter, which would mean a sale of close to £100 million. However, another source suggested it could fetch as much as 12 times ebitda.  

A spokesperson for Dunedin said the firm would "not comment on market speculation".

Set up in 1995, Pharmalink advises clients from across the healthcare sector on medical regulations in both domestic and foreign markets. It’s expertise spans fields such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, consumer healthcare and medical devices.

The firm is currently owned by two couples – Una Loughrey and Peter William Griffin, and Stephen Loughrey and Suzanne Loughrey – and has eight offices on four continents.

The auction, which is being run by BDO, is understood to have been highly contested, with interest from both trade and private equity bidders. Among those understood to have pitched were Silverfleet Capital, CBPE Capital and Graphite Capital. Inflexion Private Equity is understood to have been runner-up to Dunedin in the process.

According to one market source, businesses that outsource to the pharma sector are of increasing interest to investors, as the industry struggles to cut costs. “The pharma industry is going to need more outsourcing, more automation, better ways of doing things,” they said. “The days when they’ve had 95% growth margins are well and truly over.”

According to Companies House, in the year to April 2012, Pharmalink had revenue of £17 million and liabilities of £4.2 million.

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Posted on: 29/10/2013

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