One of Wales’ leading life sciences firms acquired in a £400m deal

BBI, one of Wales’ leading life sciences firms, has been acquired in a £400m deal.

WalesOnline reports the Crumlin headquartered global diagnostics firm has been acquired by leading life sciences investor Novo Holdings, which is headquartered in Copenhagen.

The deal provides an exit for Exponent which acquired BBI in 2015 out of US listed firm Alere.

Founded in 1986, BBI provides critical reagents and immunoassay development, lateral flow development, diagnostic manufacturing services, and smartphone reader technologies to a global blue chip customer base that includes Thermo-Fisher, Merck and Siemens. The company’s market leading brand, BBI Solutions, provides a range of products, including antibodies, antigens, labels, complementary reagents and point of care tests.

BBI employs more than four hundred people across its sites in seven countries and four continents. The business will continue to be headquartered in South Wales following the deal. The Crumlin operation employs more than two hundred and fifty people.

Over the last five years it has strengthened its management team, expanded its presence in the US, built operations in China, completed three acquisitions to expand the business’ product portfolio and invested in a state of the art manufacturing facility in Crumlin. This has resulted in significant revenue growth and an EBITDA compound annual growth rate of 22% between 2017 and 2020.

Both parties were asked to disclose the level of any equity stake held by BBI management under Exponent ownership and whether they have any minority interest under the new owners. However, they said they could not disclose ownership structures pre or post deal.

Mario Gualano, chief executive of BBI Group, said “We are hugely grateful to Exponent for the support we have received over the last five years. We have grown revenues and profitability considerably through investing in our products and services, people, and world-class infrastructure. We now have a fully invested and scalable platform to deliver future growth in a large and fast-growing market.

“We are delighted to be working with Novo Holdings, a team with a strong track record and a shared vision for growth and innovation.”

Johan Hueffer, senior partner at Novo Holdings, said “We are proud to be the next owners of BBI. Diagnostics is a very attractive space which, with an enhanced global focus on preventative medicine, will play an increasingly important part in improving health outcomes for patients around the world. We see tremendous opportunities for both organic and inorganic growth for the company. Novo Holdings is looking forward to contributing its considerable industry expertise and extensive network in supporting the talented team at BBI.”

Alan Peterson, Chairman of BBI Group, said “I am delighted with the huge progress we have made at BBI in recent years and that under Novo Holdings, the company will continue to be headquartered from our new South Wales centre of excellence.”

James Gunton, partner at Exponent, said “We have enjoyed working with Mario and the team over the last five years in transforming BBI into a world-class diagnostics platform for the healthcare and life sciences industry. We wish both the management team and Novo Holdings every success for the future and look forward to seeing the company continue to prosper.”

BBI Group Holdco Limited was advised by JP Morgan (sole financial advisor), LEK (commercial vendor diligence), PwC (financial vendor diligence) and Allen & Overy (legal advisor).

Novo Holdings was advised by Lazard (sole financial advisor) and Kromann Reumert, Latham & Watkins, and Linklaters (legal advisors).

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