Vectura Group
Image from Vectura Group’s website

Philip Morris International has upped its bid for control of Chippenham-based pharmaceuticals business and inhaled drug development specialist Vectura,

The tobacco giant is now offering £165p a share which would value Vectura at just over £1 billion.

The bidding war is attracting increased controversy as the company that produces cigarettes, notably the Marlboro brand, seems determined to control a company dedicated to  alleviating the symptoms of smoking.

Murano Bidco, a company indirectly controlled by funds managed by Carlyle Europe Partners V last Friday made an increased cash offer for Vectura,

Vectura’s directors withdrew their recommendation of earlier offer last month from American-Swiss multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company Philip Morris International.

Murano Bidcohas offered 155p in cash for each Vectura share which values the business at approximately £958 million. Philip Morris has initially offered 150p.

At the time Vectura chairman Bruno Angelici said: “We welcome the increased offer from Carlyle, which demonstrates the strong progress Vectura has made since embarking on its new strategy in 2019. Whilst we remain confident in the long-term fundamentals of the Vectura Group, we believe this is a highly attractive offer for Vectura shareholders, which secures the delivery of future value in cash, with no regulatory contingencies to completion.”

Vectura’s chief executive Will Downie said: “We are well aware of the capabilities Carlyle has in the healthcare space and their successful track record with businesses they have invested in. We also recognise the potential benefits to Vectura’s existing strategy and associated stakeholders from being under Carlyle ownership, and believe that our people, our clients and our businesses can prosper under the stewardship of Carlyle. With their support I am confident in Vectura’s continued transformation into becoming a leading inhaled CDMO player.

Vectura’s directors are being advised by JP Morgan Cazenove and Rothschild & Co regarding the financial terms of the acquisition.

Linklaters is legal advisor to Carlyle and Bidco. Latham & Watkins and Ropes & Gray are antitrust and regulatory legal advisors respectively to Carlyle and Bidco.

Clifford Chance is legal advisor to Vectura.

Date published: August 6, 2021

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