Exclusive: Colombian softgel maker Procaps in talks to go public on Nasdaq - sources

(Reuters) - Colombian softgel maker Procaps S.A.S. is in talks to go public on Nasdaq through a merger with U.S. blank-check company Union Acquisition Corp II in a deal which would value it at more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules are arranged on a table in a photo illustration shot September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic/Illustration

Union Acquisition Corp II is in the process of engaging with potential investors to raise a $100 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, which would provide additional funding to Procaps, the sources said.

These funds would be used in addition to the $200 million Union Acquisition Corp II raised in October 2019 through an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq.

A deal with Procaps could be announced as soon as this month, the sources said. The sources, who cautioned that a deal could still fail to materialize, requested anonymity to discuss the deal.

A spokesman for Union Acquisition Corp II declined to comment. Procaps did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Procaps was founded in 1977 and is based in Barranquilla, Colombia. It researches how to deliver medicines to patients through different forms, like softgels, chewable medicines, or by coating pills to make them taste more pleasant to patients.

Through the merger Union Acquisition Corp II, there is scope to grow Procaps organically and through acquisitions, one of the sources said.

The global softgel capsule market is seen growing to $3.3 billion by 2023 from $2.4 billion in 2017, according to a study by 360 Market Updates.

Procaps’ investors include the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Alejandro Weinstein, who was previously CEO of generic drugmaker CFR Pharmaceuticals SA which was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2014.

Union Acquisition Corp II is the second so-called special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by Kyle Bransfield. SPACs are shell companies which raise funds in an initial public offering with the goal of merging with an unidentified private company.

For the company being acquired, the merger is an alternative way to go public over a traditional IPO. SPACs emerged last year as one of the most popular investment vehicles on Wall Street.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston; Additional reporting by Rebecca Spalding in New York and Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota; Editing by Lisa Shumaker