United Drug acquires two US firms in €32m deal


HEALTHCARE SERVICES group United Drug is buying two companies in the US for up to €32 million.

The Irish group said yesterday that it has agreed to buy marketing business Synopia and safety and risk management specialist Drug Safety Alliance, for a total of $40 million (€31.8 million).

United Drug will spend $24.2 million on its new purchases initially. Both deals have earn-out clauses, tied to agreed profit targets, which could bring the total outlay up to $40 million.

Based in North Carolina, Synopia provides sales and marketing services to pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers in the US.

The total value of the deal is $12 million. United Drug will pay $3.2 million when the deal is completed this year and the remaining $8.8 million after three years, subject to the US company reaching agreed profit targets.

Drug Safety Alliance is also based in North Carolina. It provides safety and risk management services to the pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare industries. The services include all activities related to the detection, assessment, analysis and reporting of adverse drug reactions, a United Drug statement said yesterday.

Drug Safety Alliance has a total value of $28 million. The Irish company will pay $21 million upfront and the balance in three years, subject to the company reaching certain profit targets.

United Drug will pay for both companies from existing resources and debt facilities and expects the two deals to boost earnings once they become part of the Irish group. The purchases are the fourth and fifth to be announced by United Drug this year and bring to €170 million the total it will spend on acquisitions in 2012.

Aiden O’Donnell, analyst with Irish stockbroking firm Davy, said United Drug’s strong balance sheet gave it the scope to spend up to €200 million on acquisitions this year. The group’s chief executive, Liam Fitzgerald, said both businesses would strengthen United Drug’s position in the US healthcare services market.

United Drug has businesses in Ireland, Britain, Europe and the US.