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PPD Begins Trading On Nasdaq

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Feb 6, 2020
PPD headquarters in downtown Wilmington (File photo)

The price of PPD shares rose 14.8% after the Wilmington-based company made its debut Thursday morning on Nasdaq.

PPD's stock hit $31 per share in the opening. The offering returns PPD to a public company. 

The opening price comes after the company on Wednesday priced its IPO offering for 60 million shares of its common stock at $27 each, raising more than $1.6 billion and making it the largest initial public offering in the U.S. so far this year.

At market close Thursday, PPD stock was at $30 per share, which would value the company around $10.2 billion.

The contract research organization's stock started trading under the symbol PPD on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The offering is expected to close on Monday.

PPD, founded in 1985 by Fred Eshelman as a one-person firm, held its first initial public stock offering in 1996. The company was later sold to affiliates of investment firms The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman in 2011 for $3.9 billion, which turned it then into a private company.

In 2017, PPD closed on a recapitalization deal and added two new investors. The investment with a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and an affiliate of GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund valued PPD at the time at more than $9 billion.

The initial price per share in the latest offering fell on the high end of the target price range of between $24 and $27 per share that was announced by PPD last week. Its underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 9 million shares at the IPO price less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

The offering is being made through an underwriting group led by Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, who are acting as lead bookrunning managers; BofA Securities, Credit Suisse, Jefferies, UBS Investment Bank, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities, Evercore ISI, HSBC and Mizuho Securities, who are acting as joint bookrunning managers; and Baird, William Blair and Drexel Hamilton, who are acting as co-managers, according to PPD.

The company reported its estimated 2019 year-end revenue at $4 billion, with its Clinical Development Services division accounting for $2.5 billion, according to the company's S-1 filing with the SEC.

PPD and Live Oak Bank are the only Wilmington-based companies traded on Nasdaq. Live Oak Bancshares, the parent of Live Oak Bank, began selling shares under the symbol LOB in July 2015.

"Today marks an important milestone in PPD’s more than 30-year history, as we opened our first day of trading and returned to Nasdaq, where we were listed for 15 years, from 1996 to 2011. On our journey back to becoming a public company, we have expanded significantly and we have made significant investments – more than $1 billion since 2013 – to strengthen our differentiated services to meet the needs of our customers. Our success is due to our customers, whose trust we are driven to earn each and every day, and to the dedication and hard work of our employees," David Simmons, PPD’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement released by PPD officials after market close Thursday.

PPD has offices in 46 countries and about 23,000 employees worldwide, with about 1,500 people in Wilmington.

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