Syneos Health stockholders approved the firm’s $7.1 billion sale to a consortium of private equity firms, the company said after a special meeting Wednesday.

The group taking Syneos private consists of Elliott Investment Management, Patient Square Capital and Veritas Capital. The agreement’s terms call for Syneos stockholders to receive $43 in cash for each share of common stock owned at the closing of the transaction, upon completion. 

The purchase price reflects a 24% premium to Syneos’ closing share price on February 13. The firm had agreed to the deal in May after searching for a buyer since 2020. 

Syneos CEO Michelle Keefe thanked stockholders for their support of the sale, adding, “We look forward to closing the transaction, further executing on our growth priorities, and driving customer success by delivering fit-for-purpose, integrated solutions that help them bring life-saving therapies to patients.”

The deal’s completion, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected later this year. Syneos would be delisted from the Nasdaq but would still be based in North Carolina.

The sale caps a comprehensive review that began in early 2020, then went on a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic before culminating in May’s announcement of a $7.1 billion, all-cash buyout agreement. The company had reportedly been considering a sale due to a shorter backlog of contracts for research work from smaller drugmakers. 

Industry observers aren’t likely to view the sell-off as an indictment of the pharma commercialization sector. On the contrary, it comes at a time when many sophisticated investors have seen opportunity in acquiring outsourced pharma platforms of scale. 

Attracted by the drug industry’s big marketing budgets and long development cycles, multiple PE groups have bought platforms and improved on them via organic growth and M&A deals. And under its new private ownership, post-deal Syneos is expected to actively be on the lookout for add-on opportunities, as well. 

The company offers both clinical and commercialization services to pharma. This past year, Syneos launched two new agency brands, standalone market-access shop Spherico and oncology-focused unit Genicos. 

According to MM+M’s 2023 Agency 100, revenue from Syneos’ commercial side dipped 2% to an MM+M-estimated $260 million last year.