Equity Firm to Buy VWR

New York-based private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has agreed to buy West Chester, PA-based laboratory supplies cataloger VWR International from manufacturer Merck for $1.65 billion.

Two-thirds of the $2.8 billion VWR’s sales are from North America, with the remainder from Europe. The company’s annual sales increased 6% last year. “CD&R has a track record helping to build and grow successful global distribution businesses, so VWR should continue to prosper and remain an outstanding partner for us,” Merck CEO Bernhard Scheuble said in a statement. “For Merck, this cash infusion will make us almost free of financial debt and allow us to expand in our core businesses.” The transaction is subject to normal regulatory approvals and is expected to close by April.

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