NEWS20 October 2009

IMS Health shares leap on private equity takeover talk

M&A North America

US— Shares in healthcare research giant IMS Health rose by 21% to $17.84 yesterday on the back of a report that the company is in talks with private equity firms over a possible sale.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the firm was in “advanced discussions” with potential suitors over a possible $3.5bn deal that could be finalised as early as next month.

Private equity houses being linked with the firm are TPG, Silver Lake and BC Partners, the report said, with the latter two forming a joint bid.

Neither IMS nor the private equity houses returned calls for comment today.

IMS Health came close to being bought by VNU (or what is now The Nielsen Company) in $7bn deal in 2005, but the deal began to fall apart when VNU shareholders blocked the move.

By the end of 2005, the deal had collapsed in the face of strong opposition from VNU shareholders and chairman and CEO Rob van den Bergh resigned from the company.