Fred Hassan’s B+L IPO “Deal Goggles” Re-Appear?


The Wall Street Journal tonight ran a piece suggesting that the Warburg Pincus-owned and controlled, Fred Hassan-chaired, Brett Saunders-CEO-ed (both of whom are legacy Schering-Plough execs) private company Bausch & Lomb might go public, again — as early as year-end 2012 (as I’ve mentioned before, Warburg took it private, five years ago) — and pursue a “dual-track” auction, to attract a strategic buyer, from inside the diversified pharmaceuticals space.

Just as I’ve said, repeatedly — Fred is busily putting his deal-goggles back on — for the fourth time in recent memory (he last explored taking B&L public in late 2011). So, you might want to hide your Bausch & Lomb farm animals, because it is certain that his pigs will be “more equal” than all others. From AHP to Upjohn, Pharmacia to Pfizer, and then Schering-Plough to Merck — he extracted vast value from relatively healthy companies, transferring much of the same to his close friends — and laying off tens of thousands, in each case. Here we go again, I guess.

Here’s a bit — do go read it all:

. . . .In 2007, private-equity firm Warburg Pincus took Bausch private for $3.7 billion. It’s likely to seek a valuation far higher than that in an IPO, the people familiar with the company’s thinking said. . . .

Although Bausch executives say the company has turned a corner, it faces competition from heavyweights like Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. And it carries a significant debt load of around $3.2 billion, including funds borrowed to purchase ISTA.

The company could be attractive to some large pharmaceutical companies. One person familiar with the company’s thinking said it could decide to invite takeover bids after it files for an IPO, running what is called a “dual track” process; Bausch has received informal expressions of interest from larger companies before, according to the people familiar with the company’s thinking.

A tie-up with a larger player would give Bausch more money to invest in new drugs, surgical equipment and contact lenses and solutions. . . .

New wines; old skins. . . . It was ever thus, whenever Fred gets involved.

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