Warburg Files Initial Share Offering for Bausch & Lomb

Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc., the maker of eye-care products owned by Warburg Pincus LLC, is pursuing an initial public offering after efforts to sell the company privately were said to falter.

The company said it seeks to raise $100 million. The amount is a placeholder that may change. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. are leading the sale, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.

Warburg, which bought Bausch & Lomb in a 2007 leveraged buyout, is moving ahead with the IPO after private bids fell short of its $10 billion asking price, people familiar with the situation said earlier this year. Warburg joins private-equity firms such as Apollo Global Management LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in using the public market this year to begin exiting investments made during history’s biggest buyout boom.

“When the markets are good, it’s a good time to bring IPOs,” Tim Cunningham, who helps oversee $88 billion at Thornburg Investment Management Inc., said in a telephone interview. “We’ve been in a really big rally, and in these kinds of markets, you tend to see more deals. It wouldn’t surprise me if we had a bunch more coming in the next few weeks.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen to all-time highs this month, bolstered by cash inflows to equity mutual funds. That has helped Apollo-owned Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., THL-backed West Corp. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC’s Boise Cascade Co. complete IPOs since the beginning of this year.

Warburg Ownership

Warburg, based in New York, will continue to own stock after the offering, the filing showed, without specifying how many shares will be offered or at what price.

Bausch & Lomb, based in Rochester, New York, makes items such as contact lenses and eye-care solutions. The company generated $3 billion in 2012 sales, a 6.8 percent increase from a year earlier, with more than 40 percent of the revenue coming from North America, filings show. The net loss during the period shrank to $68.3 million from $123.9 million a year earlier.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the 12 months through December totaled $429.5 million, according to the filing. Excluding the effects of items such as stock-based compensation, acquisition-related costs and an arbitration settlement, Ebitda was $643.1 million.

Long-term debt totaled $3.3 billion at the end of 2012, up from $2.7 billion a year earlier, the company reported in the filing.

Warburg, which took Bausch & Lomb private in a deal valued at $4.6 billion including debt, is disposing of the investment as the firm seeks to raise new cash from private-equity investors. As of September, the firm was targeting a $12 billion fund, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

A $10 billion sale would have given Warburg a more than 200 percent gain on its $1.7 billion equity investment in the 2007 buyout, people familiar with the matter said in January.

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