Patheon, a Durham pharmaceutical services company that employs nearly 2,000 in North Carolina, is being bought by global giant Thermo Fisher Scientific in a deal valued at $7.2 billion, or $35 a share. The price includes $2 billion of debt.
Patheon, which employs 9,100 people at 26 sites worldwide, manufactures and packages drugs for biopharmaceutical companies. The company also provides services such as developing formulations of experimental medicines and synthesizing chemicals for a broad range of industries.
The status of Patheon’s Durham operations has not been decided. The company’s Durham office, home to 227 employees, houses such back-office functions as IT, HR, legal, marketing and sales.
“We haven’t made any decisions on that,” said spokesman Tyler Gronbach. “Durham will be part of the integration planning process.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Its manufacturing operations are expected to remain. Patheon manufactures soft gel capsules in High Point, where the company employs 500 people. It also employs 1,200 in Greenville, where it manufactures solid pills and sterile drugs in vials and pre-filled syringes.
“They plan for them to continue and grow the manufacturing business,” Gronbach said.
Patheon moved its headquarters to the Triangle in 2008. The company traces its roots to 1974 as a Canadian contract manufacturer, and changed its name to Patheon in 1993.
Patheon has been through four mergers or acquisitions since 2012. As recently as December, the company’s executives told analysts they were scouting acquisition prospects. Some analysts viewed Patheon as promising but unstable.
“[Patheon] has struggled to meet expectations since the September 2016 IPO,” analyst David Windley of the Jefferies firm wrote in a research note Monday. “As of Friday’s close, the stock had declined 19.9 percent as investors became frustrated with a lack of conservatism and misses vs. quarterly expectations.”
Patheon raised $640 million when it went public last June at $21 a share. The Thermo Fisher deal will generate a 67 percent profit for shareholders in 11 months.
“The $35 cash price being paid to Patheon shareholders is a 35% premium over Friday’s closing price, but only a 6% premium to Patheon’s recent high hit in mid-February,” wrote analyst John Kreger of the William Blair firm. “Since then, Patheon reported a disappointing quarter and Monday’s sale decision – less than a year after coming public – raises the question, was the company facing perhaps a more challenging 2017 than expected?”
Patheon will become part of Thermo Fisher’s laboratory products and services unit. The deal gives Thermo Fisher, which employs 55,000 people worldwide, a foothold in the high-growth pharmaceutical services market, which it estimates is worth about $40 billion, according to MarketWatch.
The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.