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IMS Health hires JPMorgan to lead IPO: sources

A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

By Soyoung Kim, Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - IMS Health Inc has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc to lead a proposed initial public offering that could value the private equity-owned healthcare information company at close to $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

TPG Capital LP, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Leonard Green & Partners LP, which took IMS private in 2010 for $5.2 billion, including debt, chose JPMorgan as the lead underwriter after interviewing investment banks late last week, the people said.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs would also lead the offering, which is planned for 2014, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

While the private equity owners could also explore an outright sale of Danbury, Connecticut-based IMS to another company, a public offering is a more likely outcome, some of the people added.

IMS Health, TPG, CPPIB and Goldman Sachs declined to comment while Leonard Green, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

IMS Health provides prescription data to the pharmaceutical industry, medical device makers, government agencies and other companies in the healthcare sector. Founded in 1954, the company has over 5,000 clients and operates in more than 100 countries according to its website.

IMS Health has been highly acquisitive, buying 11 other companies since its 2010 leveraged buyout, according to its website. Five of these - Pygargus, Incential Software, 360 Vantage, Semantelli and Appature - were acquired just this year. The acquisition of Pygargus, a life sciences advisory and analytics firm based in Sweden, was announced last week.

The company has posted lackluster revenue growth since 2009, yet these acquisitions, cost cuts and restructuring initiatives have enabled it to grow its free cash flow, after capital expenditures, to more than $150 million this year, according to Moody's Investors Service Inc.

Its private equity owners have taken advantage of the strong cash flow to draw $1.95 billion in dividends from the company in the last 14 months by having it borrow, according to Moody's.

Private equity firms have sought to unload their portfolio companies this year as stock markets have enjoyed strong valuations.

This year ranked as the strongest for U.S. IPOs since 2000 by dollar volume, according to Thomson Reuters data, as large floats such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Plains GP Holdings lifted deal proceeds up 21 percent from 2012 to $56.4 billion.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim, Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Cynthia Osterman)

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