BC Partners joins forces with Bpifrance to submit an offer

A box of medicine from the Biogaran laboratory, in Paris, in 2010. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

The race to buy Biogaran is accelerating, and the alliances among the suitors are becoming clearer. The British investment fund BC Partners, which for several weeks had appeared in the top three potential candidates for a takeover of the French champion of generics, would have, according to our information, submitted an offer alongside Bpifrance, Wednesday June 19, for acquire the subsidiary of the pharmaceutical group Servier.

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The British company has been negotiating for several weeks an agreement with the public investment bank Bpifrance to present a joint proposal to Lazard, the establishment mandated by the Servier laboratory to work on the sale of Biogaran. But discussions between the two actors to conclude the details of the partnership are said to have taken longer than expected. Initially set for June 15, the deadline for submitting buyout offers was thus postponed by a few days, in order to allow the investment fund to finalize its proposal.

BC Partners finally submitted its copy on the evening of Wednesday June 19. In this operation, Bpifrance would intervene as a minority investor, with a participation of between 5 and 20% according to a source close to the matter. This team would allow Biogaran, which makes more than 30% of sales of generic medicines in France, to maintain a French brand, and would at the same time guarantee the State a right of oversight over the future of the tricolor flagship in the event of resale.

A boss of European origin

The agreement between the two parties would include several conditions, including the appointment of a boss of European origin at the head of Biogaran, as well as the maintenance of the company’s head office in France, and a majority of its production of generic drugs on national soil. Biogaran, which relies on a network of subcontractors for the manufacture of its products, has nearly forty manufacturers in France, and generates more than 8,600 direct and indirect jobs in France.

By bringing Bpifrance on board, BC Partners for its part gives a more tricolor color to its candidacy. Enough to temper some of the concerns raised by the possibility of seeing the French flagship of generics fly a foreign flag. This would also make it possible, if its offer is accepted by the Servier group, to more easily pass through the hoops of the foreign investment control procedure in France.

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