Cerberus-Backed Talecris Prices Year’s Largest Pharma IPO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp priced shares in its initial public offering for $19 each, within the expected range, but increased the size of the share issue in the largest IPO by a biopharmaceuticals firm in three years.

Talecris, which produces plasma-based protein therapies, sold 50 million shares, 11.8 percent more than expected, yielding $950 million, one of the deal’s underwriters said.

The IPO is the largest new offering by a biopharma firm since Warner Chilcott Holdings Co Ltd (WCRX.O) raised $1.06 billion in 2006, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Talecris, controlled by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, [CBS.UL], is expected to start trading on Thursday on Nasdaq under the symbol “TLCR.” The company first filed for the IPO in July 2007.

Talecris was formed in 2005 when German drug and chemicals group Bayer (BAYGn.DE) sold its blood products unit to Cerberus and Ampersand for about $590 million.

“Talecris Biotherapeutics has developed a strong position in its plasma-derived protein therapy niches,” Morningstar analyst Meera Venu wrote in a research report on Tuesday.

But Venu warned that rivals such as Baxter International Inc (BAX.N) could make similar advances in other immunotherapies and cut into Talecris’ market share. Still, Venu values Talecris’ shares at $23.

About 35 percent of shares being sold are held by existing shareholders and the North Carolina based firm will use most of the IPO proceeds to pay down debt.

The Talecris IPO underwriters, led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs & Co, Citi and JP Morgan, have the option to buy 6 million additional shares.

The Talecris IPO is the second-largest in the United States this year, after Shanda Games Ltd’s (GAME.O) $1.04 billion offering last week. (Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Gary Hill)