The Carlyle Group has agreed to buy vitamin maker NBTY Inc. for $3.8 billion in cash in one of the largest private equity deals so far this year.
NBTY, based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., makes nutritional supplements and vitamins under the brands Nature's Bounty, Vitamin World and others. Its board has approved the deal.
Carlyle plans to pay $55 for each NTBY share, a 47 percent premium above the stock's closing price of $37.47 on Wednesday.
NTBY shares climbed $16.63, or 44.4 percent, to $54.10 in pre-opening trading.
The private equity firm found NTBY's established brands, long-standing customer relationships and a broad base of distribution appealing, said Sandra Horbach, a Carlyle managing director and head of the its consumer and retail sector team.
In the fiscal second quarter, its net income doubled but fell short of expectations. Revenue rose 18 percent to $705.1 million. The company has a market capitalization — the total dollar market value of all of a company's shares — of about $2.38 billion.
"We will leverage Carlyle's global resources and consumer sector knowledge to further drive the company's global growth," said NBTY chairman and CEO Scott Rudolph.
Private-equity deals were scarce during the recession but have increased in recent months, as economic conditions and credit markets improve.
Late last year, health care data company IMS Health Inc. agreed to be bought by investment funds TPG Capital and CPP Investment Board for $4 billion. In May, Interactive Data Corp. agreed to a $3.4 billion takeover by Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus.
NBTY said it is permitted to solicit other proposals for about a month. But the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
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