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Mankind Pharma is learnt to be the front-runner in the bid to buy Bharat Vaccines and Serums from private equity firm Advent International, with an aggressive bid at the upper end of the deal size that is around $1.7-2 billion, sources said.

Sources said that Mankind Pharma, armed with its war chest, is likely to top $2 billion though the binding bids are yet to be submitted. This is expected to take place towards the middle of the month.

The Delhi-based pharma company is bidding on its own and sources said that the company has equipped itself with adequate firepower to undertake the transaction without straining its balance sheet. Bharat Serums is a biopharmaceutical leader in women’s healthcare, assisted reproductive treatment, critical care, and emergency medicine. It would supplement Mankind Pharma’s own domestic pharma business where its product portfolio spans formulations across acute and therapeutic areas.

The acquisition would increase its heft in the sector. From a 52-week low of ₹1,661.05 in July 2023, its shares rose to a high of ₹2,490 in April 2024, though it has come off those highs now.

Mankind Pharma did not respond to a request for comment.

However, Mankind will have competition as two consortiums of private equity firms are also in the fray. Warburg Pincus and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala have teamed up to make a bid while Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is bidding with a Swiss private equity. Sources said that it will all depend on how deep the PE firms are willing to dig into their pockets, their assessment of the valuation and pricing, and the expected future returns on the investment.

There was no response to emails sent to Warburg Pincus and Mubadala. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority declined comment

Private equity firm Advent International had acquired BSV in 2019 in two transactions valuing the company at around $500 million. It is looking for an exit through a full sale with an expected over 3x return.