Avantor to buy laboratory supplies company VWR Corp for $6.4 bn

Avantor Performance Materials, a supplier of ultra-high-purity materials for the life sciences and advanced technology markets, today struck a deal to buy laboratory supplies company VWR Corp for $6.4 billion in cash, expanding its global footprint.

Avantor, owned by private-equity firm New Mountain Capital, is offering to pay $33.25 per share in cash, a premium of around 17 per cent to VWR's closing price on 2 May, the day prior to The Wall Street Journal's report on the companies nearing a deal. (See: New Mountain Capital in advanced talks to buy VWR Corp for nearly $5 bn)

Founded in 1852, VWR Corp employs over 10,200 people and distributes over 1,200,000 items of research laboratory products to more than 250,000 customers in North America and Europe.

Its clients are from the government, biotechnology, life science, education, electronics, and pharmaceutical sectors, while its suppliers include Applied Scientific, 3B Scientific Duracell, Kimberly-Clark, Bel-Art Products, and Welch Allyn.

The Pennsylvania-based company, which has annual sales of over $4.5 billion, has large investors that include Fox Run Management, Private Bank & Trust Co, Capstone Asset Management, Regentatlantic Capital, Highbridge Capital Management, and Nicholas Co.

VWR Corp has recently been on an acquisition spree. Its latest acquisition was of laboratory and medical equipment and ancillary supplier to clinical trials, MESM Ltd, for an undisclosed sum.

Avantor, earlier known as Mallinckrodt Baker, is a global supplier of ultra-high-purity materials for the life sciences and advanced technology markets.

The company provides more than 30,000 performance products and solutions for the production and research needs of approximately 7,900 customers across the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, aerospace & defense, and semiconductor industries.

It had acquired Gurgaon-based supplier to the life sciences industries, RFCL Ltd from ICICI Venture Fund in 2010, for an undisclosed sum.

Avantor said that the VWR acquisition will create a major consumables-focused solutions and services provider to the high-growth life sciences and advanced technologies industries, as well as education, government, and research institutions across the globe.

''Avantor's acquisition of VWR is both highly compelling and complementary. We will bring together our well-known expertise in ultra-high-purity materials and customised solutions with VWR's global scale, unparalleled channel access, and deep customer relationships. Collectively, this will create a larger, stronger and more diversified company with significantly enhanced scale and product breadth," said, Michael Stubblefield, CEO of Avantor.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.