A Medical Device Daily

Banta (Menasha, Wisconsin) said it has reached an agreement to sell substantially all of the assets of its single-use healthcare products subsidiary, Banta Healthcare Group (Nee-nah, Wisconsin), to an affiliate of Fidelity Capital Investors, a private equity investment division of Fidelity Strategic Investments (Boston).

Banta will receive $67 million in cash in connection with the sale of Banta Healthcare, a manufacturer and distributor of disposable medical and dental products.

The transaction is expected to close toward the end of 1Q05, subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of financing and anti-trust clearance.

In a separate transaction related to the divestiture of Banta Healthcare, Banta sold its warehouse in Rialto, Calif-ornia, to a California real estate investment company for $7 million.

Banta also reported that its board of directors had ap-proved a $150 million share repurchase program, which replaces the company's existing program. The company expects to use the net cash proceeds from the sale of Banta Healthcare and the Rialto facility to repurchase its common stock in the open market, or in privately negotiated transactions, subject to market conditions.

Banta Chairman, President and CEO Stephanie Streeter said the decision to sell Banta Healthcare reflects the priorities of the company's strategic plan, which emphasizes growth and development of its two primary businesses, printing services and supply-chain management services.

Streeter emphasized that, although Banta Healthcare has never had operational or market synergies with Banta's other divisions, it has always been a well-run contributor to the company's earnings and cash flow. “Under new ownership eager to support the business by actively pursuing and investing in growth opportunities, Banta Healthcare has a bright fut-ure,“ she said.

In a move it said is designed to bolster existing bioinformatics offerings to the pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics industries, MedTrials (Dallas) has acquired the data management and biostatistics capabilities of DataMedix (Philadelphia). This venture includes the acquisition of DataMedix's existing data management and statistical information systems, as well as the transitioning of all core DataMedix personnel over to MedTrials.

The company said the move will strengthen its existing data management and biostatistics offerings while helping to fuel growth in that department.

“We are enthusiastic about the enhanced capabilities that result from this, and are looking forward to our increased ability to compete for larger bioinformatics projects in the future,“ said MedTrials Chief Operating Officer Brian Morgan.

MedTrials' headquarters will remain in Dallas, and an East Coast office will be established in the Philadelphia area to provide for additional growth.

MedTrials is a privately held clinical research services firm offering a portfolio of solutions to medical device, pharmaceutical and biologics clients.

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