Aptalis has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Forest Laboratories, a leading, fully integrated, specialty pharmaceutical company, for $2.9bn in cash pending required reviews.

Forest has agreed to acquire Aptalis from TPG, the global private investment firm.

Aptalis is a global specialty pharmaceutical company that has approximately 1,000 employees worldwide. The company provides innovative, effective therapies for unmet medical needs including cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal disorders. Aptalis achieved sales of $688m in FY2013, which ended September 2013. TPG acquired Aptalis, formerly known as Axcan Pharma, for $1.3bn in 2008.

"Under TPG’s ownership, Aptalis has grown through internal product development and acquisitions, and now our new, larger, multi-national owner will provide increased opportunities," said Frank Verwiel, MD, president and chief executive officer of Aptalis. "Forest’s acquisition of our company is a testament to the strength of the business we have built. I believe this transaction will profoundly enhance our ability to serve our patients and their caregivers as well as our employees, customers and stakeholders.

"Over the course of our partnership, Frank and his world-class team have built a strong, diversified business with an exciting pipeline," said Todd Sisitsky, partner, TPG Capital. "The company has grown throughout our ownership period, and we are enthusiastic to see a dynamic specialty pharmaceutical company like Forest partner with Aptalis on the next leg of the company’s growth."

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2014 pending regulatory review and satisfactory completion of necessary closing conditions.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLC and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP served as Forest’s legal counsel, and Aptalis was advised by Ropes & Gray, LLP. Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Forest. J. P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisors to Aptalis.