Cardinal Health snaps up Intercare for £233m

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The Independent Online

Intercare, the UK pharmaceutical company, was yesterday snapped up by the US drugs giant Cardinal Health for £233m as part of its plans to expand in Europe.

The all-cash deal values Intercare at 280p a share, a 28 per cent premium on its Tuesday closing price and a 48 per cent premium to the company's average price over the past three months. Intercare's chief executive, John Parker, said shareholders should be delighted with the offer and more than a quarter had already given their support to the deal, including the fund managers Jupiter, Isis and UBS.

Cardinal said the enlarged company would be a leading global pharmaceutical company. It was attracted to Intercare's strengths in UK and Europe, where it specialises in both distributing and manufacturing drugs, particularly oral hormone treatments and pre-filled syringes. It also has a significant division that develops generic versions of drugs for sale to pharmacies.

Mr Parker said the business would keep its main UK base in Yorkshire and that none of its 860 UK jobs would be effected by the sale. "All our employees in the UK, France and Belgium will see good opportunities from this deal. It is all about expansion, and if anything, jobs will be created," he said. "We have built good shareholder value in the company over the past eight years. Cardinal and Intercare have a very good strategic fit as our businesses complement each other."

Intercare, which took its current shape when Mr Parker and Jeremy Earnshaw joined the company in the mid-Nineties, put out a profits warning this summer, but Mr Parker said it had not solicited the offer from Cardinal. Shares in Intercare yesterday surged 27 per cent on the news to close at the 280p offer price. The management team at Intercare will stay on with the enlarged business.