Stock Take

Icon targets $500m in merger and acquisition deals as shares soar to record levels

The Irish-headquartered contract research giant is now valued at close to $26bn after its shares surged 40 per cent in the last year

Brendan Brennan: ‘I think share buybacks will be part of the mix but our primary use of cash will always be on M&A.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

The last three years have been utterly transformative for Icon plc, the Dublin-headquartered contract research giant.

After completing a mega $12 billion acquisition of US rival PRA Health Sciences in 2021, Icon has seen its revenue almost treble in the last three years, while profits have doubled. The deal saw Icon jump from the world’s sixth-largest contract research firm to being pretty much the largest player in the market.

The company, which is headquartered in Dublin but listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, reported full-year results last week which show the company’s rapid growth spurt is showing no signs of slowing.