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Carlyle Group to buy vitamin maker NBTY

NBTY Inc. makes nutritional supplements and vitamins under the brands Nature’s Bounty, Vitamin World, and others. NBTY Inc. makes nutritional supplements and vitamins under the brands Nature’s Bounty, Vitamin World, and others. (Nbty Inc. via Bloomberg News)
By Mae Anderson
Associated Press / July 16, 2010

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NEW YORK — Carlyle Group has agreed to buy vitamin maker NBTY Inc. for $3.8 billion in cash in one of the largest private equity deals so far this year.

NBTY makes nutritional supplements and vitamins under the brands Nature’s Bounty, Vitamin World, and others. Its board has approved the deal.

Carlyle, whose two largest partners are CalPERS, the California retirement system, and an investment company from Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Development, plans to pay $55 for each NBTY share. That’s 47 percent above the stock’s price on Wednesday.

Carlyle invests in a wide range of industries, with about 8 percent of its holdings in consumer and retail companies. Its holdings include a United Kingdom pharmacy Alliance Boots PLC, doughnut maker Dunkin’ Brands Inc., and casino company Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

The private equity firm was attracted by NBTY’s established brands, longstanding customer relationships, and broad distribution, said Sandra Horbach, a Carlyle managing director.

“We will leverage Carlyle’s global resources and consumer sector knowledge to further drive the company’s global growth,’’ said Scott Rudolph, NBTY’s chief executive.

NBTY said it is permitted to solicit other proposals for a month. But the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Carlyle Group, of Washington D.C., has more than $90.5 billion under management.