Acino says it has agreed to be taken over by private equity groups Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital in a deal that values the Switzerland-based generics firm at 398 million Swiss francs, or just shy of $440 million.

The private equity companies have offered 115 francs per share, a 33% premium to Acino’s closing price on October 1. The Aesch-headquartered company's board has unanimously backed the bid and if successful, the stock will be delisted from the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Acino's board says it is "convinced that substantial financial resources are required to further exploit the potential of the company’s in-house innovation, drive sales growth, support profit improvements, and successfully strengthen its competitive position". Avista and Nordic added that they are "prepared to commit substantial capital as well as utilise their experienced global healthcare network to further expand upon Acino’s growth strategy ".

If the deal is done, industry veteran Hakan Bjorklund, current chairman of Lundbeck and long-time chief executive of Nycomed (which was owned by Nordic, Avista and others before its sale to Takeda in 2011) will become Acino chairman. He said he and the proposed new owners have followed Acino "for quite some time [and] we are convinced that the company provides an ideal platform for organic growth and add-on acquisitions".

Acino, which says it has transformed its business from being a central European pharmaceutical supplier into a diversified company with worldwide operations, has 738 employees and generated revenues of 143 million euros in the first half of 2013.