Exclusive: Lonza in bid to acquire Catalent

Swiss specialty chemicals and life sciences company Lonza Group AG (LONN.S) has offered to acquire U.S. drug delivery technology company Catalent Inc (CTLT.N), three people familiar with the matter said this week.

The deal would expand Lonza's life sciences capabilities, allowing it to produce a wider range of molecules used in active pharmaceutical ingredients and drug delivery. Shares of Catalent rose as much as 12 percent on the news, giving it a market capitalization of close to $4 billion.

Catalent and Lonza have so far failed to agree on the price, and there is no certainty that their negotiations will continue, the people said. Lonza, which is keen on an acquisition, may decide to pursue other targets, one of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the discussions were confidential. Lonza and Catalent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lonza has been expanding its presence in the United States in recent years, buying up small biopharmaceutical companies and, in 2011, acquiring chemical maker Arch Chemicals for $1.4 billion. Lonza has a market capitalization of 8.7 billion Swiss Francs ($9 billion).

Based in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent provides advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. It has 31 facilities worldwide and generated more than $1.8 billion in revenue in 2015.

In 2007, private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) acquired Catalent from Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N) for $3.3 billion. Blackstone took Catalent public in 2014 and still owns about a fifth of the company.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Carl O'Donnell and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Tom Brown)

Wed Apr 13, 2016

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/

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