February 5, 2020 / 10:29 PM / 17 days ago

Drug research firm PPD prices IPO at top end of target

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drug research firm PPD Inc (PPD.O) said on Wednesday it raised $1.62 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) after pricing shares at the top end of its targeted range.

It is the biggest U.S. IPO of 2020 so far and the second $1 billion-plus deal of the year after Reynolds Consumer Products (REYN.O) went public last week.

PPD priced its IPO at $27 per share, the company said in a statement, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

The company had aimed to sell 60 million shares at a target price range of $24-$27 per share.

The IPO valued North Carolina-based PPD at $9.16 billion.

PPD has been owned by private equity firms Carlyle Group (CG.O) and Hellman & Friedman since 2011 after the pair took the company private in a $3.9 billion leveraged buyout.

Wilmington, North Carolina-based PPD posted a profit of $47.9 million in the first nine months of 2019, compared to $59.7 million a year earlier.

PPD, which provides drug research services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, has said it plans to use the IPO proceeds to pay down a portion of the company’s debt.

PPD is due to begin trading on Nasdaq on Thursday under the symbol “PPD.”

Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs & Co are the lead underwriters for the IPO.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Chris Reese

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