CVC Enters Exclusive Talks to Buy Control of Pharma Firm Cooper

CVC Capital Partners has entered exclusive talks to acquire control of European over-the-counter drugmaker Cooper Consumer Health.

The buyout firm is negotiating the purchase of a majority stake in Paris-based Cooper from Charterhouse Capital Partners, according to an emailed statement Friday, which confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report. A deal could value the business at about 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), people familiar with the matter said this week.

CVC is partnering with Yvan Vindevogel, the founder of consumer health company Vemedia, as well as specialized health-care investment firm Avista Capital Partners and Cooper’s management team, according to the statement. Charterhouse will make a significant reinvestment in Cooper, it said.

The French company manufactures over-the-counter treatments, including creams, sprays and nutritional supplements, that don’t require a doctor’s prescription. Demand for such products has risen as people seek ways to stay healthy and boost their immune systems during the Covid-19 pandemic. Charterhouse bought Cooper in 2015.

CVC beat out rival suitors including a consortium backed by PAI Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, people with knowledge of the matter have said. A deal would add to almost $11 billion of health-care acquisitions by private equity firms in Europe in 2021, a figure that’s up more than 700% year-on-year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Private equity firms have also been taking advantage of investor appetite for health-care assets to offload businesses to peers and strategic investors. BC Partners is weighing a sale of European generic drugmaker Pharmathen, which could be valued at as much as 1.5 billion euros, while last year CVC agreed to sell a major stake in French clinic chain Elsan to KKR & Co. and Ardian SAS for about $4 billion.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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