Pamplona’s Parexel evaluates options, Silversmith sees 5x return on Absorb, Tiger Global leads $240m ActiveCampaign investment

Pamplona looks to unload Parexel and Tiger Global invests in ActiveCampaign.


It’s feeling a bit like déjà vu with more private equity headlines in pharma services and edTech this morning.

Momentum: Contract research organizations are havin’ a year, everybody. After Thermo Fisher forked out several billions of dollars for PPD, Pamplona Capital Management is looking to exit its investment in Parexel, another large CRO helping expedite the development of new drugs, according to people familiar with the firm’s plans.

Evercore was recently appointed by the sellers, with both an IPO and potential sale on the table, sources said. The timing is logical considering the flurry of robust multiples produced by other outsourced providers of clinical research services as of late.

Thermo Fisher last week bought the high-performing PPD at more than 20x its EBITDA guidance for 2021, while PRA Health Sciences also went for around 20x in its February sale to ICON.

And then, there’s Covance. Pressured by activist investor Jana Partners, LabCorp in March engaged Goldman Sachs to advise on a strategic review of the business. One action plan to unlock value, as widely reported, could be the potential spin-off or sale of Covance, its CRO division considered highly undervalued. Read PE Hub’s full report.

EdTech: Another hot pocket of investment is also seeing big outcomes, with growth equity firm Silversmith Capital Partners poised to make 5x its money on the sale of learning-technology provider Absorb Software, sources familiar with the deal told PE Hub.

The firm, less than four years into its investment, said Tuesday it had agreed to sell the Canadian software business to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. The investment achieves a greater than $500 million valuation for Absorb Software, the news release said.

Read Milana’s full report on PE Hub.

In other tech news, Tiger Global has led a $240 million funding round into ActiveCampaign, a customer experience automation provider. Silversmith among others are also investors. The fast-growing company has surpassed $160 million in annual recurring revenue as its employee count expands rapidly, PE Hub wrote. Check it out here.

That’s all I got today! As always, write to me at with any feedback, tips or questions.