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IMS Health has agreed to sell itself for roughly $4 billion. The buyer? Private equity firm TPG and the Canada Pension Plan. The deal is interesting, not only for what it says about where the health care industry is going, but also because it would be the largest leveraged buyout since May 2008 (it is expected to close by the end of March)—and, as such, is one big, flashing sign that the economy is improving and financing markets are starting to spin their wheels faster.
IMS Chairman and CEO David Carlucci said the deal would help the firm "capture long-term growth opportunities." IMS had reported in July that its earnings would fall short of expectations for the year, but in light of upcoming changes in the health care industry, the firm's area of expertise makes it a shining prospect in years to come. The company is best known for its medical data and market research for the pharmaceutical and health care industries; in particular, it tracks sales of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, offers market forecasts based on surveys of doctors and hospitals, and provides pharmaceutical companies with detailed information about the prescribing habits of doctors. "IMS Health has consistently demonstrated it is the definitive source of critical data and services to the evolving healthcare industry," said Jonathan Coslet, Senior Partner, TPG.
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