• Private equity firm exits cast doubt on successful sale
  • Company’s shares have dropped two-thirds since Amdipharm buy

Concordia Healthcare Corp.’s sale process hit a snag after Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group opted not to pursue a takeover for the Canadian drugmaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

The lack of interest from the big private equity firms casts doubt on whether the embattled company will find a buyer, said the people who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

Concordia said in a statement Thursday that it would continue to review its strategic alternatives. At the same time, the company said there was no assurance that a transaction would occur.

The pharmaceutical company fell as much as 21 percent -- the most in seven months -- and was down 10 percent to C$36.60 at 2:57 p.m. in Toronto.

Bloomberg reported in April that Blackstone was considering a bid and that Concordia had hired Greenhill & Co. as it sought potential buyers. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Thursday that Blackstone and Carlyle withdrew from the process.

Carlyle decided not to submit a bid after expressing initial interest, according to one of the people.

Representatives for Blackstone and Carlyle declined to comment.

Industry Concerns

Concordia last year agreed to buy Amdipharm Mercury Ltd. in a deal valued at about $3.5 billion, part of an acquisition spree that’s seen it spend almost $5 billion on transactions since 2013. Its growth-by-acquisition strategy has drawn comparisons with that of its larger peer Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Shares in the company have fallen 67 percent since the Amdipharm acquisition -- its largest to date -- after investors grew concerned about debt levels and the company became a target for short sellers.

The company also got caught up the wake of the crisis at Valeant and the increased scrutiny on the health-care sector. Several U.S. officials have criticized the industry, including U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has promised stricter regulations on what she called “predatory pricing” on prescription drugs.

(An earlier version corrected Carlyle misspelling.)

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