Global investment firm KKR (NYSE:KKR) is acquiring global contract research organization PRA International from San Francisco-based private equity firm Genstar Capital for an undisclosed sum, PRA announced today. The New York Times reports that a "person briefed on the matter" said the price was about $1.3 billion.

PRA is one of the world's biggest CROs with more than 5,300 employees located in more than 50 offices worldwide, performing approximately 2,000 clinical trials in more than 80 countries for more than 300 clients since 2000.

That was underlined by KKR Health Care investing team member Jim Momtazee, who was quoted as saying, "As one of the fastest growing companies in the CRO sector, PRA is known for its strong client relationships and differentiated therapeutic expertise."

The services PRA provides on a contract basis to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries include filing Investigational New Drug and similar regulatory applications, management and implementation of phase I through IV clinical trials, preparation and submission of New Drug Applications, and post-marketing surveillance.

Genstar acquired PRA in 2007 for $797 million. Earlier this year it put the CRO up for auction following a failed effort to obtain a sufficient price two years ago. Had it failed to attract enough attention again, Genstar was considering putting PRA up for an IPO.

The transaction announced today is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor to PRA. Credit Suisse, UBS's investment bank, and Wells Fargo Securities division served as financial advisors to KKR. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett  served as legal counsel to KKR. Fully committed debt financing will be provided by Credit Suisse, Jefferies, UBS Investment Bank, and KKR Capital Markets.


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