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Bausch & Lomb Owner Seeks IPO after Private Sale Fails

Feb 25, 2013

The company that overtook pharmaceutical firm Bausch & Lomb in 2007 is now pitching the idea of an Initial Public Offering to the nation’s leading banks after a failed attempt at a private sale of the legally-embattled company.

According to a breaking report from Bloomberg late last week, Warburg Pincus LLP was in talks recently with Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase concerning a prospective IPO for the company as it looked to unload it. Warburg was seeking at least $10 billion for the company when it had it up for a private sale but offers for Bausch & Lomb came in below the expectations.

Warburg initially invested just $1.7 billion for the company in 2007. Several pharmaceutical companies did show interest in Bausch & Lomb, including Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi but no offer topped $9 billion, according to unnamed sources reporting to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity. The firm was working with Goldman Sachs Group to find a potential buyer for Bausch & Lomb.

Bausch & Lomb is the maker of leading contact lenses and eye solution products. That along with other vision care and pharmaceutical products generate about 80 percent of the company’s revenue and last year earned about $700 million.

In 2006, the company faced ongoing trouble when it was forced to recall its popular Renu Moisture Loc contact lens solution after it was linked to an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis, a disorder of the eye that is marked by inflammation of the cornea and can lead to blindness. The company faces pending litigation regarding this outbreak in New York Supreme Court.

The decision to seek an IPO may be brought on by the recent performance of another pharmaceutical IPO, Pfizer Inc.’s Zoetis Inc., an animal health company. That company raised $2.57 billion during its IPO.

Warburg needs investments for a new fund and the company wants a total of $12 billion.

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