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Warburg targeting mammoth $10bn Bausch & Lomb exit

13 Dec 2012

Warburg Pincus is eyeing one of the biggest private equity exits since the financial crisis with a $10bn sale of US contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb, it is understood.

The firm has hired Goldman Sachs to run the sale after receiving expressions of interest from pharmaceutical groups according to the FT, which said the firm is also considering an IPO.

Warburg bought the New York-headquartered business for $4.5bn in 2007, including about $830m of debt, through a take-private deal.

The deal would be the largest buyout sale since Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda bought European rival Nycomed for €9.6bn in cash in May last year.

Nycomed counted Nordic Capital, Credit Suisse private equity subsidiary DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, UK secondaries investor Coller Capital and DLJ spin-off Avista Capital Partners among its backers.

Potential bidders for Bausch & Lomb include GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Bayer, Merck, Sanofi and Abbot Group, the FT said.

Warburg Pincus is currently targeting $12bn for its latest buyout fund, which is attempting to negotiate a tough fundraising environment by offering investors a 1.4 per cent management fee while taking 20 per cent carried interest.

The firm was believed to have hit a $5bn just before the summer, according to a report by Reuters.

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