Owens & Minor buys unit from wholesaler Celesio

Owens & Minor ($OMI), a U.S. medical supply distributor, is breaking into the European pharmaceutical and health supplies market.

It is paying $158 million to buy Movianto, the pharmaceutical and medical supplies logistics unit of German drug distributor Celesio. The deal is contingent upon getting needed regulatory approvals, the two companies said in a release.

Owens & Minor will merge the European operations into its own business, but intends to retain the Movianto employees and distribution centers. Movianto has about 1,800 employees.

Celesio acquired Movianto in 2004. Celesio CEO Markus Pinger said the deal comes ahead of what Celesio had "originally planned," but that the German company is concentrating on its drug and supply wholesaling operations, which provide about 95% of the company's revenue. Last year, the company found itself cut off from Swiss Novartis ($NVS), when it and another drug wholesaler got into a fight with the giant drugmaker.

"Our manufacturer partners have increasingly expressed interest in working with Owens & Minor on a global basis," Owens & Minor CEO Craig R. Smith said.

- read The Wall Street Journal's story
- here's the press release

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