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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wall Street Journal reported that Wilmington-based Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. is exploring a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

“We do not comment on rumors and speculation,” PPD spokeman Ned Glascock said this morning.

But this afternoon, PPD founder and executive chairman Fred Eshelman decided to break that policy. According to a statement, following recent stock market developments, PPD’s board of directors has asked management to review PPD’s strategic plan and capital structure with a focus on unlocking value for shareholders.

“While the company generally has a policy of not commenting on speculation, we want to assure our customers and employees that the company remains focused on executing its long-term business strategy,” Eshelman said in a statement. “We are absolutely dedicated to performing for our customers and committed to executing the important research programs that they have entrusted to us.

“We are looking at our long-term plan and our capital structure to see if there are any actions, which might create value at this time. We are not engaged in any discussions around a combination with other clinical research providers. We remain laser-focused on executing our business and serving our customers with the quality and service they expect and deserve.”

PPD is a provider of outsourced clinical research services to drug companies.

UNCW Senior Economist Dr. Woody Hall says if the company is sold to a similar company there’s a great chance that a better product can be made at a lower cost. The downside is downsizing.

“I think the new firm, if created, will look for ways to cut cost if cost can be cut, and that’s one way to do it: to lay off employees,” Hall said.

Others say if the sale of PPD does happen, it’s important that the community makes contact with the buyer.

“We’re going to need to make sure we’re engaged with the buyer if that happens; make sure we know what their strategy short and long-term is,” John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Inc. said. “Obviously we like having PPD here. They’re a great corporate citizen.”

According to tax records PPD has had a significant impact in the Cape Fear paying more than $150,000 in county and city taxes in 2010. In 2009 the company paid more than $160,000 in local taxes.

With a market capitalization of about $3.2 billion could fetch bids from both private-equity and larger clinical-research providers, the Wall Street Journal said citing its sources. The sources also cautioned that PPD could still change its plans.

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9 Comments on "Report: PPD for sale; Eshelman comments"

2015 years 9 months ago

announced this AM. All cash price of $3.39 Billion. A good job on behalf of the stockholders.

2015 years 9 months ago

But how has PPD benefited from government programs or funding?

What’s wrong with all of the investors, who put their money at risk when this company ws conceived and they bought stock, to finally get the return on investment which Capitalists look for?

Despite the efforts in Washington and Raleigh, we have not become a Marxist country, yet.

2015 years 9 months ago

…to provide goods and services in return for cash obligates PPD to any specific course of action. We’re not talking about a incentive, we’re not talking about a bailout, we’re talking about a negotiated contract.

Grumman had far more than $40 million in contracts with the Navy when it was purchased by Northrop in 1994. The combined company simply fulfilled the contracts.

Global Santa Fe had several million in open drilling contracts when it was purchased by Transocean. Transocean just assumed the contracts with the company.

You all seem to feel that PPD is somehow “obligated” to Wilmington. It’s a large company with far more employees outside Wilmington than in Wilmington. It maintains its corporate headquarters here, but has facilities in over forty countries.

These buyouts create wealth for the shareholders, and that’s the name of the game. The wealth created comes back to everyone in the form of new cars, bigger homes, new furniture, big vacations, or reinvested capital gains to fuel the next buyout.

It’s called Capitalism, and it’s what built this nation.

2015 years 9 months ago

i think everyone posting is worried about more jobs vacating this region. PPD jobs are good ones, and jobs paying over $30K/yr. are getting more & more scarce in the tri county area (which hurts us all). I do agree with you, its obviously not illegal what PPD is doing, I just think people are nervous.

John Osmar
2015 years 9 months ago

Another North Carolina Company that will be destroyed by executive greed, following Piedmont Airlines, Krispy Kreme, Wachovia, Package Products, and NCNB. When our business leaders trash good companies just to put money in their own pockets, it’s no wonder why people elect Marxist rebels to the White House.

rob surf city
2015 years 9 months ago

correctly stated in every respect.

2015 years 9 months ago

Not to worry. When these executives all become richer they will allow some of their wealth to trickle down to the rest of us. PPD is a corporation, it exists only for a single purpose which is to maximize profits for its shareholders. Let’s ignore the fact that it would not be economically viable BUT FOR the taxpayers. A recent article right here told of PPD picking up a 40 plus million federal contract. PPD’s “bread and butter” is satisfying government testing requirements.

This is a sad joke, sad indeed.

Thank God for Commissioner Catlin who identified the New Hanover Med Center “deal” to be what it is…. a “slow motion sale”.

We all need to be careful and mindful when dealing with “corporate” interests.

2015 years 9 months ago

…they’ll put money in EVERY shareholder’s pockets. The stock was up over 10% today simply on rumors of a sale.

Sounds like the Marxists aren’t restricted to the White House….

Derik Williams
2015 years 9 months ago

Lets not think about how many jobs there is there all for a bit of greed. I would really hope that someone that makes the amount of money that he does in one years time would take away from all the families that depend on PPD being here. Don’t be a sell out something need to stay in our country. See where everything else is and how it has effected our economy. Something of this strength could surely hurt not just the people that work there but the people surrounding it. There is plenty of money to be is this kind of market why sell out. It is time that some people take up for others.


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