Wanted: Buyers for Aptalis Pharma. Must be willing to pay $3B-plus

It's been an eventful past several months in pharma M&A, and private equity firms have been among the busiest buyers and sellers. One such firm is TPG, which may be at it again: The company is reportedly exploring a sale of specialty drugmaker Aptalis Pharma, which it picked up in 2008.

TPG has been working with JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to scout out a buyer for several months, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources. According to the news service, TPG's asking price of more than $3 billion has scared off several bidders, including India's Sun Pharmaceuticals and the Raleigh, NC-based Salix Pharmaceuticals ($SLXP). Reuters says that in 2012, the company was projected to bring in just $615 million in revenue and $269 million in adjusted earnings. A third person said Elan ($ELN) and Forest Laboratories ($FRX) were also in the mix, considering bids before deciding against a deal.

According to Reuters, TPG may consider other options, such as an IPO or a dividend recapitalization, if a satisfactory buyer for the Montreal-based maker of cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal disorder treatments doesn't come its way. The private equity outfit bought the drugmaker as Axcan Pharma more than 5 years ago and later merged it with its newly acquired Eurand Pharmaceuticals. The combined company was renamed Aptalis.

TPG has been active as of late, notably grabbing generics maker Par Pharma for $1.9 billion in a deal that was completed last September. The month prior to that saw a flurry of private equity M&A, with Cinven agreeing to pay $732 million for U.K. drugmaker Mercury Pharma and BC Partners agreeing to buy German company Aenova from fellow investment firm Bridgepoint for $620 million.

- read the news from Reuters

Special Report: Top Biopharma M&A Deals - 2012