| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 13 Ikaria Inc, a specialty drug
company that is seeking to sell itself for as much as $2
billion, received final bids this week from private equity firms
American Securities LLC, GTCR LLC and Madison Dearborn Partners
LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ikaria is set to pick one of those three bidders for
exclusive negotiations imminently, the sources said on Friday.
Two other private equity firms that also participated in the
auction, BC Partners Ltd and Onex Corp, have stopped
pursuing Ikaria, the sources said.
The sources asked not to be identified because the sale
process is private. A spokeswoman for private equity and venture
capital-backed Ikaria declined to comment. American Securities,
GTCR and BC Partners also declined to comment, while Madison
Dearborn and Onex did not respond to requests for comment.
Hampton, New Jersey-based Ikaria's main drug INOMAX delivers
nitric oxide gas to treat newborns with serious trouble
breathing, allowing for more oxygenated blood to circulate in
their bodies. It also has a pipeline of what it calls "critical
care" products for patients with life-threatening injuries or
Ikaria, whose owners include New Mountain Capital LLC, ARCH
Venture Partners LP and Venrock Associates LP, is working with
Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG on
the auction, people familiar with the matter told Reuters in
The company was created in 2007 when investors led by New
Mountain merged a biotechnology company also called Ikaria with
German industrial gas producer Linde AG's INO
Therapeutics in a $670 million cash-and-stock deal.
The deal left Linde as minority investor in Ikaria, creating
a company with more than $160 million in revenue. Six years
later, Ikaria had about $361 million in 12-month revenue as of
the end of March 2013, according to Moody's Investors Service
With several of its key patents expiring this year and next,
Ikaria is more vulnerable to competition, although its patents
on heart failure products expire in 2029 and others expire in
2031, according to Moody's.
Ikaria filed for an initial public offering in 2010 but
withdrew the filing that same year citing market conditions. Its
owners have taken several dividends from the company, including
a $475 million distribution last summer that Ikaria paid for by