Seven M&A consultancies advise on Dechra's duo of Dutch acquisitions

09 February 2018 Consultancy.uk

Veterinary firm Dechra Pharmaceuticals has confirmed that it will purchase Netherlands-based AST Farma and Europe-focused Le Vet in a €340 million cash and share deal. The debt-free deal saw seven merger and acquisition consultancies advise on Dechra’s twin purchase.

AST Farma is an animal pharmaceuticals firm which specialises in generic products, while Le Vet focuses on the European markets outside of the Netherlands. Working in partnership with AST Farma, Le Vet has developed a strong portfolio of products, and established a network of marketing partners across Europe, including Dechra, to sell them.

The deal, which sees Dechra formalise its ties with the pair, is worth just over £296 million, and will see Dechra pay around three quarters of the value in cash, along with 25% in new Dechra shares. The news of the deal saw shares of Dechra climb in value by 3.8% the following day, at 2,140 pence.

Dechra also plans to raise about £100 million for the deal through a placing of 5.1 million new ordinary shares at 2,050 pence each with institutional investors to fund the deal, while also issuing 3.67 million new ordinary shares to the sellers. The Veterinary firm’s acquisition of AST Farma and Le Vet is subject to a two-year lock-in, and is aimed at increasing the group’s European presence. Dechra has been seeking to purchase the duo for numerous years, and, subject to a vote of its shareholders, seems finally set to get its way.

The dealmakers and their roles

According to the group’s Chief Executive, Ian Page, “The acquisition is a rare opportunity to strengthen our European segment in all the major European countries in which we operate.”

Dealmakers

The deals between the parties were advised on by M&A experts from seven professional services firms. KPMG, who have been Dechra’s external auditor since 1997, were involved in two aspects of the deals. First, KPMG Meijburg supplied Tax Advisory services, alongside Netherlands-based JSA Tax Consultancy, before KPMG also supplied Transaction Services to the process, as did Accuracy, an international financial advisory firm. M&A Advisory work was presented by corporate finance advisory firm Capitalmind.

Legal advisory services were provided by Netherlands-based Lexence and DLA Piper, who supplied a cross-jurisdictional team lead by UK Head of Corporate Charles Cook. DLA Piper’s team also included partner Daphne Bens, senior associates Jess Hogan and Aad Oomen, associate Laura Smit all based in Amsterdam. DLA Piper's UK team consisted of senior associates Robert Newman and Satnam Sahota, supported by trainee Samantha Bradley, all based in Birmingham.

Charles Cook said of the deal, “This is a hugely important step for Dechra which has emerged as an outstanding success in the sector in recent years, and we look forward to seeing that success continue. This project is an excellent example of DLA Piper’s ability to field a multi-jurisdictional team in order to assist our clients in executing their most important transactions.”

Last year saw ten year deal activity in pharmaceuticals top $2.4 trillion, and 2018 seems likely to see this spike continue. In health more generally, earlier in the year, DAS Health acquired Integra to strengthen the firm’s healthcare practice. Soon after, US life sciences experts Insight were bought up by Precision Medicine Group, suggesting that the health industry as a whole is likely to see a bumper year in terms of M&A value creation.

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