NeighborCare, Baltimore, agreed to be acquired by institutional pharmacy rival Omnicare, Covington, Ky., for a total of $1.8 billion, including the assumption of about $245 million in debt, ending more than a year of wrangling between the companies. Under a newly revised offer, Omnicare will pay $34.75 in cash for each share of NeighborCare. Last month, NeighborCare's board voted unanimously to recommend that shareholders reject Omnicare's takeover offer of $30 per share, or about $1.5 billion. The board rebuffed similar offers twice previously. The merger, which already has received antitrust clearance, is expected to close in the third quarter.
Omnicare is the nation's largest provider of pharmacy and related services to skilled-nursing facilities with operations in 47 states and Washington. NeighborCare operates in 32 states and Washington. Omnicare said the deal would increase the number of beds it serves by 27% to 1.4 million and add "significantly" to earnings in 2006 and beyond. It estimated the companies' combined annual revenue would be about $6 billion. -- by Laura B. Benko