Warner Chilcott to float

Warner Chilcott Ltd., the UK women’s drug specialist, has filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange’s NASDAQ in a float that could raise up to US$1bn. Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are leading the listing.

The company was taken private in October 2004, following a stint on the London and Irish stock exchanges, by Bain Capital, DLJ Merchant Banking, JPMorgan Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners in a £1.62bn (US$3bn) deal.

One of the most high profile deals of 2004, Warner Chilcott attracted significant interest from the private equity world, notably from Blackstone, KKR and Texas Pacific Group. They were ultimately frustrated in their efforts by the winning consortium, but the presence of DLJ and JPMorgan in the syndicate angered the US buyouts giants to such an extent that they threatened to withdraw their business unless the banks scaled back their PE activities, which many banks duly did.

The US pharma market generated sales of approximately US$260bn in 2005 and has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 7.46% since 2001. In its prospectus Warner Chilcott said the group’s focus on specialty drugs, in contrast to the blockbuster pharmaceuticals produced by the large companies, has enabled it to exploit niche opportunities. The business has had six drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since March 2003.