U.S. buyout firm Apollo Global Management Inc. is nearing a deal to buy closely-held drugmaker Covis Pharma Holdings Sarl from rival private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for more than $700 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

Talks are at an advanced stage and the deal could be announced as soon as this week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Apollo, led by billionaire Leon Black, has emerged as the buyer for Covis Pharma ahead of bidders including other private equity firms, the people said.

A representative for Cerberus declined to comment, while a representative for Apollo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cerberus has been seeking a buyer for Covis Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company with products targeting respiratory, allergy, cardiovascular, gastroenterology and central nervous system diseases, Bloomberg News first reported in October. Covis Pharma has its headquarters in Baarn, the Netherlands.

Cerberus built Covis Pharma since 2011 through a series of acquisitions and asset disposals. In 2015, it sold a portfolio of products to Concordia Healthcare Corp., now named Advanz Pharma Corp, for $1.2 billion.

Founded in 1992, Cerberus has more than $40 billion in assets across credit, private equity and real estate, according to its website.

Apollo saw its shares tumble in January after it said its net realized performance fees this year may be in line with 2019 levels in part because the firm closed on asset sales earlier than expected. Yet as asset prices rise it has become more difficult for buyout firms to put their money to work. Dry powder, or uncommitted capital, at Apollo stood at $46.4 billion, the company said last month.

 

Source: Bloomberg

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