UK-based contract research organisation (CRO) Premier Research Group has now completed its previously announced management buyout, retaining the existing management team fully intact.

In March Premier agreed to a takeover offer worth around £60.1 million (€76.3 million) from Pegasus Bidco, an acquisition vehicle backed by private equity firm ECI Partners, financier Indigo and the Premier management.

Like Synexus, the ‘hub site’ recruitment specialist that in November 2007 took the private equity route with a £18.1 million buyout from Lyceum Capital, Premier had seen its expansion plans thwarted by a dramatic slump in its share price, which hit a low of 34 pence in December 2007. That was after the company announced in August that it had received a “very preliminary” bid approach from certain members of its executive management team.

With the management buyout under its belt, Premier has delisted from the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, which it joined in December 2004.

According to chief executive officer Dr Simon Yaxley, the CRO is now in a position to “continue our thoughtful and measured ‘buy-and-build’ strategy”. Last July Premier snapped up US CRO ARS for up to $22.1 million and the Swiss D-TARGET for up to SwFr17.0 million ($14.1 million), its fifth and sixth acquisitions as a publicly traded company.

Nonetheless, the Premier board had warned that the company remained “sub-scale in global terms” and needed “significantly more critical mass in order to compete on an equal footing with the other global CROs”.

With no disruption at management level, “our clients, both existing and prospective, will not experience any visible change in working with the Premier Research team”, Yaxley commented.