NEW YORK (TheDeal) -- After a summer of speculation, healthcare information and distribution company McKesson Corp. (MCK) on Thursday, Oct. 24, said it would buy control of German pharmaceuticals distributor Celesio AG and launch an offer for the outstanding shares.
McKesson said it would pay German family-run conglomerate Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH 23 Euros per share for its 50.01% Celesio stake and offer remaining shareholders the same, valuing the target's shares at 3.9 billion Euros ($5.4 billion).
The offer represents a 64% premium over Celesio's Oct. 7 close, the day before speculation of a pending deal with McKesson surfaced. McKesson said it would pay a total 6.1 billion Euros in cash and debt for Celesio.
Celesio's board is recommending shareholders accept the offer. McKesson needs to secure 75% of Celesio's shares, including the Haniel holding, to proceed.
"The healthcare industry is evolving rapidly, marked by convergence between segments and increased globalization," said McKesson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hammergren in a statement.
Drugstore giant Walgreen Co. kicked off a trans-Atlantic consolidation wave last year when it picked up 45% of its U.K. counterpart Alliance Boots GmbH for $6.7 billion. The duo then strengthened their cooperation with pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp. in a March deal that gave them the right to buy up to 23% of the Dublin, Ohio-based distributor.
The move came just as Haniel was reconsidering its stake in Celesio. The Duisburg, Germany investor also owns 30.01% of German retail bulwark Metro AG, 30.3% of business equipment specialist Takkt AG and all of CWS-boco Deutschland GmbH, which makes uniforms, public bathroom gear and industrial carpets.