PPM, Triton buy Pfizer diagnostic unit

The two firms have reached agreement to acquire the Swedish-based business of the US pharmaceutical group in a deal worth $575m.

PPM Ventures, the private equity business of insurance group Prudential, and Triton, the German and the Nordic-focused buyout firm, have agreed to acquire the diagnostics business of Pfizer, the US-based pharmaceutical corporation, for $575 million (€457 million).

The transaction, which is subject to certain conditions including regulatory approvals, is expected to complete in the first half of 2004. Details of the debt financing for the transaction have not been disclosed at present.

Pfizer’s diagnostics business, Pharmacia Diagnostics, based in Uppsala in Sweden, develops tests for the clinical diagnosis and monitoring of allergy, asthma and autoimmune diseases. The business, which is expected to generate revenues of approximately $240 million in 2003, is the market leader in the field of in vitro allergy testing.

Pharmacia Diagnostics was founded over 30 years ago as part of Pharmacia. The Pharmacia Diagnostics business became a part of Pfizer in April 2003, with Pfizer’s acquisition of Pharmacia. Pfizer announced in July that it was exploring strategic options for the business and hired Lazard to advise on a possible sale.

“This business is the world leader in the field of in vitro allergy testing and is engaged in a range of operations that enjoy global growth markets,” said Matthew Turner, a director of PPM Ventures, and Newton Aguiar, of Triton in a joint statement.

The deal marks Triton’s second acquisition of a Pfizer asset, following its purchase of the US group’s aquarium and pond supply business in a deal worth $240 million in November 2002.