PPD and inVentiv: Are the last privately-owned Big CROs ready to go public?

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

IPO or not to IPO that may well be a question at PPD and inVentiv
IPO or not to IPO that may well be a question at PPD and inVentiv

Related tags: U.s. securities and exchange commission

Soon PPD and inVentiv will be the only privately-owned top eight CROs, which prompted us to weigh up the firms in the event that either goes public in the near future.

In September​, PRA Health Sciences filed a Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission announcing its intentions to go public and six weeks on​ fellow contract research organization (CRO) INC Research announced an IPO of its own.

Along with Quintiles’ $1bn IPO last year​, the top end of the industry – which Parexel CFO Ingo Bank said this week​ controls around half of the outsourcing industry – will be dominated by public companies.

Of the top eight – Quintiles, Covance, PRA, Parexel, PPD, Icon, INC and inVentiv (in that order based on revenues) – only two CROs will be owned by private equity groups but with an IPO industry trend and PE investment cycles, asks which firm will be next to go public: PPD or inVentiv Healthcare.

Typical investment windows are 3-7 years in length, with PE firms typically exiting their investments if things are going well, Managing Director of Fairmount Partners Neal McCarthy told this publication in September​.

In light of this, inVentiv celebrated its fourth anniversary under the ownership of Thomas H. Lee Partners in August, while PPD was only acquired in December 2011 by the Carlyle Group and affiliates of Hellman & Friedman which is thus not quite three years in on its $3.9bn investment.

Based on age, recent IPOs and recent industry financial results Outsourcing-Pharma would fancy the odds on inVentiv being the seventh of the top eight CROs to turn public but we want to know what you think.

Check out the infographic below to see exactly how the two CROs compare on a business level, and feel free to give us your two cents on the subject:

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