Parexel to be acquired by EQT and Goldman Sachs for $8.5 billion

Fours years after being taken private for $5 billion, the CRO is sold off for a healthy profit.

On Friday, Parexel announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement which will see it being acquired by EQT Private Equity and Goldman Sachs’s private equity business for $8.5 billion. Having been taken private by Pamplona Capital back in 2017 for $5 billion, the CRO is changing hands again four years later, leaving a decent profit for its recent owner. Then, Pamplona paid $88.10 per share in cash to take the CRO private, with its founder Josef von Rickenbach staying on as CEO before handing the reigns to Jamie Macdonald the following year. Macdonald had been CEO of INC Research between 2013 and 2016 before it was subsequently renamed to Syneos Health following its merger with inVentiv Health in 2018. He is expected to remain CEO for the foreseeable future.

According to its website, Parexel currently employs almost 16,000 and boasts a client base that expands across more than 100 countries. The announced deal with see EQT and Goldman also assume the contract researcher's debt. The announcement also comes at a time when there is a flurry of mergers and acquisitions within the contract research sector. Since the year started, several notable deals have been announced, including Thermo Fischer’s $17.4 billion acquisition of PPD as well as the $12 billion merger between ICON and PRA Health – highlighting the industry’s revival and newly-found attractiveness following a difficult period at the onset of the pandemic last year. Analysts forecast the outsourced clinical research services industry will be growing at a CAGR of 8 to 9 percent.