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Bayer “absolutely open” to further acquisitions after $1.2bn Schiff shop

By Shane Starling+

Last updated on 30-Oct-2012 at 20:53 GMT2012-10-30T20:53:13Z

Bayer spends $1.2bn on Schiff vitamins

The consumer arm of German pharma giant Bayer Healthcare is to pay $1.2bn (€920m) for US food supplements company Schiff Nutrition International, a move that will make it one of the biggest operators there, feed product development globally, and may not be the end of buy-out activity.

After announcing the deal, Bayer spokesperson Gunter Forneck told us Bayer’s consumer products arm was, “absolutely open to acquisitions to improve capabilities, technology and market access” particularly in the life sciences area.

“Our priority remains focused on organic growth but we are always looking for good opportunities, especially small-to-midsize businesses in the life sciences area in all regions of the world,” Forneck said, noting some Schiff brands may be rebranded, or even exported outside of the US.

Utah-based Schiff does 90% of its business in the US and has brands like the krill omega-3 offering, MegaRed; the glucosamine joint health product Move Free; and immunity supplement, Airborne, which it acquired in March this year.

The deal is subject to regulator approval, with any potential anti-trust issues to be considered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

75-year-old Schiff registered sales of $259m (€200m) for its fiscal year ended May 31, 2012 and forecast 43-46% growth for the 2013 fiscal period.

The purchase price is 17.8 times Schiff’s EBITDA.

Bayer CEO Dr Marijn Dekkers said of the deal: "Bayer is committed to augment its organic growth with strategic bolt-on acquisitions. This transaction represents an excellent strategic fit for our HealthCare business. The Schiff business significantly enhances our presence and position in the United States, which accounts for more over-the-counter and nutritional products sales than any other country in the world."

Tarang P Amin, president and CEO of Schiff, said, "We are focused on building premium brands and leading innovation. We believe Bayer is well positioned to take our leading brands to the next level."

Schiff shareholders will receive $34 a share under the deal. As we went to press Schiff stock was trading at $23.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bayer HealthCare brands include Milk of Magnesia, One-A-Day vitamins and Cal-D-Vita/Elevit.

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