Blackstone's AYUMI Pharmaceutical in sale process, Nomura advising

Breaking News 5 April

Blackstone's AYUMI Pharmaceutical in sale process, Nomura advising

AYUMI Pharmaceutical, the Tokyo, Japan-based pharma specializing in anti-rheumatic drugs and analgesics, is up for sale and has already received indicative offers from several suitors, sources familiar with the situation said.

AYUMI’s private equity backer Blackstone [NYSE: BX] has retained Nomura Securities as the sell-side advisor, they said.

Handful bidders were shortlisted after the first-round bids that were due on 17 March, they noted. 

Bain Capital is believed to be among the shortlisted bidders, the first, second, and third sources said. KKR also appears running in the process, the second and the third sources added.

AYUMI generates EBITDA of around JPY 10bn (USD 75.2m) and Blackstone is aiming to raise around USD 1bn from the sale, the first and fourth sources said.  

The second round will be collected in May, the first and third sources said.

AYUMI’s minority stakeholder TOHO Holdings [TYO:8129] and Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical [TYO:4530] are not looking to sell their portion in this process, according to the sources.

The PE owner has been considering a dual-track exit for AYUMI as TOHO and Hisamitsu were also invited as strategic investors last year before the potential IPO, the first source explained.  

However, Japan’s IPO market has not recovered yet and the PE owner seems to be leaning toward a trade sale option at this stage, he said. Nomura Securities could also act as a lead underwriter should an IPO happen, the first source added.  

It was previously reported by a newswire in December 2022 that Blackstone was considering strategic options for AYUMI including an IPO and company sale.

Blackstone acquired AYUMI from the Japanese investment firm Unison Capital and M3, a Japan-based online medical information provider, for JPY 100bn in March 2019, according to Mergermarket data. 

Since then, TOHO Holdings acquired a 20% stake in AYM HD, the holding company of AYUMI Pharmaceutical Holdings that owns AYUMI Pharmaceutical, in March 2022, as announced. Hisamitsu also acquired an undisclosed stake in AYM HD in March 2022, as announced.

AYUMI was established in 2015 through the integration of Santen Pharmaceutical’s [TYO:4536] anti-rheumatic business and Showa Yakuhin Kako (excluding the dental business). Unison Capital acquired the anti-rheumatic business for JPY 45bn in May 2015. It also owned Showa Yakuhin Kako since its acquisition in 2012.

AYUMI has 363 employees as of January 2021 and its main product Calonal has the largest market share for acetaminophen products in Japan, according to its website.

The target business has largely grown during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increasing need for acetaminophen, the sources pointed out.

Blackstone, Nomura, Bain, KKR, Toho and Hisamitsu declined to comment.  

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