Amoun Pharma investors make another run at a $700M-plus sale

It's try, try again for Egypt-based Amoun Pharmaceuticals. The drugmaker, among the largest in its home country, hired Goldman Sachs to look for potential buyers after previous efforts failed.

As Bloomberg reports, Amoun's owners had engaged Jefferies Group last year to explore options for the company, including a sale. But those efforts stalled.

The shareholders, which include several private equity firms, bought Amoun in 2006 for about $450 million, the news service notes. Now, they'd be looking for a deal valuing the company at $700 million to $800 million.

Amoun's private equity owners are among many investors looking to take advantage of the hot market for pharma M&A. Private equity firms have been on both sides of recent deals, as shoppers, buyers and sellers. As an extreme example, take Texas-based TPG. It unloaded Aptalis, a combination of two smaller drugmakers previously snapped up by the firm, to Forest Laboratories last year, just ahead of that company's Actavis ($ACT) takeover--only to buy a piece of that unit from Actavis last month.

To name a few more, Carlyle Group bought Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Ortho Clinical Diagnostics last year for $4 billion. A variety of firms shopped portfolios of older meds that Big Pharma companies have been looking to unload. And a Japanese drug manufacturer, Bushu, got new private equity ownership in November, in a $668 million buyout by Baring Private Equity Asia.

Amoun may consider another option, too--an initial public offering. The maker of prescription pharmaceuticals and veterinary meds wouldn't be alone in that, either. Par Pharmaceutical, a generics maker taken private by TPG Capital a few years ago, has now filed for an IPO.

- see the Bloomberg story

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