The board of institutional pharmacy provider NeighborCare, Baltimore, unanimously rejected an unsolicited $1.5 billion buyout offer from rival Omnicare, Covington, Ky., as "blatantly opportunistic" and not in the best interest of shareholders. NeighborCare said the offer was substantially similar to a previous proposal by Omnicare, which the board rejected in April. In refusing the latest offer, NeighborCare's chairman, president and chief executive officer, John Arlotta, said in a news release that the company was "well positioned to . . . compete and succeed in the marketplace" some five months after its spinoff from Genesis Health Ventures. Omnicare, already the nation's largest provider of pharmacy services to long-term-care facilities, said acquiring NeighborCare would increase the number of beds it serves by about 24%.
The battle continues ill will between the two companies, which in 2002 tangled over the rights to acquire another institutional pharmacy provider, NCS Healthcare, Beachwood, Ohio. Omnicare bought NCS after suing to block a purchase agreement between the company and NeighborCare. NeighborCare, which provides institutional pharmacy services in 32 states and the District of Columbia, reported adjusted net earnings of $37.2 million on consolidated revenue of $2.6 billion in its fiscal 2003. OmniCare, with operations in 47 states and the district, earned net income of $194 million on revenue of $3.5 billion in 2003. -- by Julie Piotrowski