Distributor, manufacturer merge to form BBI Healthcare

January 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

One of the largest drug wholesalers in the United States agreed to merge with a major drug maker known for its generic products.

One of the largest drug wholesalers in the United States agreed to merge with a major drug maker known for its generic products.

Bergen Brunswig, Orange, CA, agreed to buy Ivax Corp., Miami, for $1.6 billion in a tax-free stock swap. The move represents the first time that a distributor has purchased a drug company in the United States.

The new company, BBI Healthcare Corp., will be located in Miami. Executives hope to create a generic line that can be bundled with its branded pharmaceutical and medical/surgical products. Combined, the market value of the two companies is about $3.2 billion.

"With the full integration of manufacturing and distribution, we can cut costs in the supply chain and help make health care more affordable," said Donald Roden, Bergen Brunswig's president and CEO-elect who will become CEO of the combined company. "Bergen Brunswig purchases nearly $2 billion in multisource pharmaceuticals each year. As part of BBI Healthcare, Ivax will be able to penetrate broad new markets and increase sales of its generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals."

Ivax will earn direct access to a network of more than 4,000 drug stores.

However, some pharmaceutical industry sources speculated that the merger might damage Ivax's relationship with other wholesalers.

The merger comes during hard times at Ivax. The company reported a third-quarter loss of $178.7 million, or $1.47 a share, compared with net income of $27.6 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. PR