ICON looking to raise $2 billion to help fund PRA Health merger

The Dublin-based contract researcher announces private offering to help finance its $12 billion mega deal.

In February this year, ICON announced it was looking to acquire PRA Health in a $12 billion cash and stock transaction. The offer represented a 30% premium to PRA’s closing price as before the deal was announced and is expected to create one of the world’s largest contract research organisations to be headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. To help fund the deal, ICON is looking to raise more than $2bn through a private offering of senior secured notes to be used together with cash on hand and borrowings made under proposed new credit facilities. The Irish contract research organisation plans to offer $500 million in senior secured notes due 2026 and $1,515 million of senior secured notes due 2028.

ICON was founded in 1990 by Dr John Climax and Dr Ronan Lambe and has grown over the past three decades to become a major player on the clinical research landscape globally. By December 31, 2020, it employed nearly 16,000 employees across 93 locations in 41 countries. According to its website, PRA employs a similar number of staff and has a presence across over 75 locations in over 80 countries – making the combined entity one of the industry’s largest players. Regulatory filings show the merger will cost both parties about $137 million, and $16 million had already been incurred in relation to severance packages for a small number of executives who will not be retained due to overlap in roles.