IMS Health, the $2.3 billion (sales/year) Blue Bell- and Norwalk, Conn.-based pharmaceutical data firm that put itself on the block  earlier this year, has been sold to giant buyout firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) of Fort Worth, a source familiar with the deal tells me. IMS employs around 1,000 at its suburban Philadelphia "Americas headquarters", and over 5,000 worldwide. Expect an announcement later today.

UPDATE: It's now official. Announcement here.

Excerpts:" IMS Health (NYSE: RX), the world's leading provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by investment funds managed by TPG Capital ("TPG") and the CPP Investment Board ("CPPIB") [big Canada pension fund] in a transaction with a total value of $5.2 billion, including the assumption of debt...

"IMS shareholders will receive $22.00 cash for each share of IMS common stock they own, representing a premium of approximately 50 percent over the closing share price on Friday, October 16, 2009, the last trading day prior to public speculation that IMS was considering its strategic alternatives.

"The transaction has fully committed financing, consisting of a combination of equity to be invested by TPG and CPPIB and debt financing to be provided by certain affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co....

"This transaction enables our shareholders to realize substantial value from their investment in IMS with an immediate cash premium..." said IMS Chairman and CEO David R. Carlucci. "We will continue our focus on expanding into new markets..."

"Completion of the transaction is subject to approval of IMS shareholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of 2010. Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Evercore Partners, and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisors to TPG and CPPIB.  Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal advisor to TPG and CPPIB. CPPIB was also separately advised by Torys LLP."