The speculation began last week when Bloomberg reported that TPG Capital and Bain Capital LLC are interviewing banks to handle the initial public offering (IPO) for Quintiles. Similarly, Reuters reported that the privately-owned contract research organisation (CRO) was speaking to JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank.
Quintiles spokesman Phil Bridges emailed Outsourcing-pharma.com his standard response to questions about the CRO's finances, telling us that: "Quintiles routinely evaluates its capital strategy, and it is our policy not to comment on these matters."
Owen Blicksilver, public relations representative for TPG, was similarly tight-lipped when asked if he could confirm whether or not the CRO was in discussions about going public.
“Sorry… no. You would need to call the company” was his response.
More than a rumour?
Quintiles has been private since 2003 and counts - in addition to Bain and TPG - 3i Group and Temasek Holdings among its investors. The CRO has been rumoured to have close to going public several times over the last decade, but nothing concrete has ever emerged.
Whether the latest speculation is any more accurate than the previous rumours remains to be seen, but such a move would fit with a number of investor-focused financial steps the firm has taken in recent months.
In October, Quintiles secured a $175m (€130m) loan and a revolving credit facility of $300m which it said “will be used to fund a distribution to the equity sponsors.”
In December Quintiles secured a $2bn loan that – according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) – was designed to cut interest rates on debts and pay dividends to investors.
At the time S&P said: “The new loans reduce interest expense and provide for further pricing step downs if Quintiles completes an initial public offering. However, we have no information from the company to suggest that an offering is imminent.”