Zoetis said today it will acquire PHARMAQ, a developer of vaccines and other aquaculture treatments, for $765 million, in a deal designed to strengthen the buyer’s core livestock business, and boost its presence in a fast-growing segment of the animal health industry.
Zoetis will purchase PHARMAQ from a company owned by Permira IV, a fund managed by the global investment firm Permira, the company’s majority owner since 2013.
PHARMAQ finished last year with approximately $80 million in revenues and a presence in the world’s major aquaculture markets—including vaccines for farmed fish, where Zoetis says its soon-to-be-acquired company is the market leader.
The PHARMAQ acquisition will add vaccine brands such as the injectable vaccine AlphaJect® to Zoetis’ portfolio of more than 300 product lines, as well as parasiticides such as AlphaMax®, designed to protect farmed salmon from sea lice.
“This acquisition is a great strategic fit that brings to Zoetis an animal health leader with similar competitive advantages – an industry-leading portfolio, strong customer relationships, and world-class innovation and manufacturing,” Zoetis CEO Juan Ramón Alaix said in a statement. “We are gaining a new platform for growth and value creation that we can expand.”
He also cited PHARMAQ’s late-stage development pipeline, which includes new vaccines and next-generation parasiticides expected to enter the Norwegian, Chilean and UK markets “in the near term.”
“By combining our experience and R&D capabilities, we believe we can optimize our industry-leading ability to develop vaccines and medicines for farmed fish”, added PHARMAQ CEO Morten Nordstad. “With Zoetis’ global footprint, we can deliver greater value to more customers around the world and accelerate our geographic expansion plans.”
Zoetis said the deal will complement its diagnostics business with PHARMAQ’s diagnostic products specializing in early detection of infection and rapid response through more customized solutions. PHARMAQ offerings also include dip/immersion vaccines, therapeutics, and technical support services tailored to the needs of farmed fish operations.
The buyer also cited growth in the $400 million aquatic health products serving aquaculture. Its 7-8% annual growth is faster than the 6% compound annual growth rate of the overall livestock segment and 5% CAGR of the companion animal segment, according to Zoetis.
“To ensure its continued success, the PHARMAQ business will run largely as a stand-alone operation within Zoetis and maintain its focus on critical customer needs and R&D milestones,” Alejandro Bernal, evp, strategy, commercial and business development for Zoetis, said in a statement.
Zoetis said it expected to complete the acquisition around November 10, and intends to draw on its revolving credit facility to finance the transaction.
Inclusive of financing costs, Zoetis added, it expects the transaction to be neutral to adjusted earnings in 2016, and to add to adjusted earnings thereafter.
Zoetis last year reported a net income of $583 million on revenue of $4.8 billion—up 16% and 5%, respectively, from 2013, when the company was spun out of Pfizer.
Headquartered in Florham Park, NJ, publicly-traded Zoetis employed approximately 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of this year. Privately-held PHARMAQ has approximately 200 employees and is based in Oslo, with subsidiaries in Chile, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, Panama, and Hong Kong.