KKR funds to buy clinical trial firm PRA International


Funds managed by KKR & Co LP will buy clinical research group PRA International from Genstar Capital LLC for an undisclosed amount, PRA said on Monday, underscoring growing private equity interest in the contract research industry.

Sources familiar with the matter had previously told Reuters that PRA could be worth as much as $1.3 billion.

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The deal comes at a time when research service firms are either being snapped up by private equity firms or are being taken public.

Genstar bought PRA in 2007 for $797 million and put it on the block earlier this year after failing to sell it in 2011.

Warburg Pincus LLC and Cinven Ltd were also in the running to buy the company, the sources had said.

PRA says it provides clinical trial services and other research for pharmaceutical companies in more than 80 countries to help them win regulatory approval for drugs.

In May, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital LP completed an initial public offering of shares in Quintiles Transnational Holdings , the world's largest provider of contract research services, raising $947 million.

Jefferies LLC was financial adviser to PRA and Latham & Watkins was legal adviser. Credit Suisse, UBS Investment Bank and Wells Fargo were financial advisers to KKR, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was legal adviser.

(Reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis in New York and Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr)