Cinven to pay $732M for U.K.'s Mercury Pharma

Mercury Pharma, a U.K.-based specialty drugmaker, has gone from one private equity owner to another. Cinven agreed to pay £465 million ($732 million) for the company, which HgCapital took private in 2009.

The deal follows a couple of years of "streamlining" at Mercury, CEO John Beighton said in a statement. In an echo of Pfizer ($PFE) CEO Ian Read, Beighton explained that Mercury has been refocusing on its "core specialty pharmaceutical products" and plowing money into its pipeline.

Right now, Mercury sells generic drugs and some branded products, including anesthetics, antipsychotics, cardiovascular drugs, pain meds and arthritis treatments. It's focused mostly on the U.K., but sells its products in more than 50 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and Kenya, and a variety of markets in the Middle East and Asia. It launched 15 new products since last January.

Apparently, Cinven sees growth in Mercury's essential drugs, many of them cheap generics, even in today's tough economy. Or, perhaps, especially--Cinven Partner Supraj Rajagopalan figures demand for Mercury's essential drugs will continue. "In a number of areas, Mercury is actually able to work with payors to reduce costs," he said in a statement.

Cinven is also eyeing M&A to broaden Mercury's reach. "It is a fantastic platform for further consolidation both in the U.K. and internationally," he said, adding that Cinven has already identified "a number of compelling acquisition opportunities."

- read the release from Mercury

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