VCA division Antech buys Abaxis vet-lab assets for $21M

Antech Diagnostics, the lab division of veterinary hospital chain VCA ($WOOF), has agreed to buy the assets of Abaxis' ($ABAX) Veterinary Reference Laboratory for $21 million in cash.

The Los Angeles-based animal hospital and laboratory operator and Abaxis will market a service that will include Abaxis point-of-care diagnostic products, the companies said in a press release. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

"We see great benefit in the relationship between two demonstrated leaders in veterinary diagnostics and this only strengthens the respective sales and marketing capabilities of Antech Diagnostics and Abaxis," Josh Drake, Antech's president, said in a statement.

The two companies already have a strong relationship.

In January, Abaxis, which makes a range of blood-test analysis systems for both human and animal health, reported fiscal third-quarter revenues of $59.5 million. It also cited veterinary sales of $46.9 million for the quarter, based in part on the placement of a record 1,284 instruments in veterinary clinics--up 42% from the previous quarter and 23% year over year--plus an additional 100 placements through its partnership with VCA.

Many distributors are angling for position in the increasingly competitive market for veterinary products such as those made by Abaxis. On Jan. 12, AmerisourceBergen ($ABC) announced plans to buy MWI ($MWIV) for $2.5 billion. And Henry Schein ($HSIC) has been expanding its footprint in animal health, adding nutritional and orthopedic products to its offerings and boosting its presence in countries like Australia, Poland and Ireland.

- check out the release