Business

Sunday 20 October 2019

Canada's largest drug maker to snap up Bausch & Lomb for $9bn

Thomas Molloy

BAUSCH & Lomb, the eye-care company that is Waterford's largest private employer, is set to be sold to Canada's largest drugmaker for about $9bn (€6.9bn), company officials have said.

The contact lens maker, which has around 1,300 workers in Waterford and is one of the biggest employers in the south-east, is expected to be snapped by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Bausch & Lomb belongs to private-equity fund Warburg Pincus.

Warburg Pincus, which bought Bausch & Lomb in a 2007 leveraged buyout, had been looking at an initial public offering as recently as March that would have raised as much as $1.5bn.

PRIVATE EQUITY

Instead, the private-equity company is near a deal to sell the eye-care company to Valeant, sources told Dow Jones and Bloomberg.

Shares in Valeant soared 11pc to their highest levels since 1994 following yesterday's reports.

Bausch & Lomb's manufacturing plant in Waterford opened in 1980 and has since grown to a 264,000 sq ft facility with around 1,300 employees. The operations include contact lens manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and research.

The 'Wall Street Journal', which first revealed the talks, said a deal might come as soon as next week. The newspaper warned, however, that the deal isn't done yet and could still fall apart.

Should that happen, Warburg and Bausch & Lomb could proceed with an initial public offering of stock in the eye-care company that had been planned.

Valeant, a generic drugmaker, has been on the prowl for deals. It recently came close to striking an agreement to buy Actavis until that company agreed to buy Dublin-based Warner Chilcott earlier this week for $5bn.

Bausch & Lomb is Waterford's biggest employer on a single site although it has been forced to let hundreds of workers go since the financial crisis began. Waterford has been very badly hit by the departure of high-profile employers such as Talk Talk and Waterford Crystal in recent years.

Irish Independent

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