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WILMINGTON, NC (PPD) — One of Wilmington’s largest employers has been sold. PPD announced today that it has entered into a merger agreement with two private equity firms.

The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman have agreed to buy Pharmaceutical Product Development for $3.9 billion. Once the sale is final and all stocks are sold, the pharmaceutical research firm will become a private company.

Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman have agreed to acquire common shares of PPD for $33.25 per share in cash. That’s nearly 30 percent above PPD’s closing price at the end of September.

PPD’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the merger agreement and recommended that the company’s shareholders adopt the agreement as well.

“The sale of PPD to The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman provides an attractive return for our shareholders, while also ensuring a secure foundation and commitment to investment, innovation and excellence for PPD clients and employees as the company builds on its 25-year history of success,” said Fred Eshelman, founder and executive chairman of PPD.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said he’s not surprised by the sale. He said he sees the investment in our community as a good thing.

“We’re very hopeful that the company is going to remain here in Wilmington,” Saffo said. “They’ve been here for quite some time. Obviously, the founder of the company, Fred Eshelman, started this company here in Wilmington. They have a long history here in our community, and I feel that they will stay here.”

Saffo says PPD’s presence in Wilmington is a vital part of downtown and an important part of our economy because of its more than one thousand jobs.

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