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Huntsworth acquires AXIS Healthcare

Huntsworth Health has acquired a one hundred per cent stake in US-based healthcare communications company AXIS Healthcare Communications and its subsidiaries

Huntsworth Health, the global public relations group, has acquired a one hundred per cent stake in US-based healthcare communications company AXIS Healthcare Communications and its subsidiaries.

The initial cash consideration is USD 18.4m, but deferred consideration may be payable, with an interim cash payment based on profits for H2 FY07 and a final cash payment based on profits for the four years to 31 December 2010. The maximum total consideration that could be payable is no more than USD 55m.

This acquisition extends Huntsworth into the US and will further broaden its US base following the acquisition of Dorland Global Corporation in March 2007.

AXIS provides services to clinical, medical, marketing and sales training departments of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, while Dorland works principally with the marketing departments. The client base for both companies is diverse, covering big pharmaceutical companies, emerging companies and device manufacturers. AXIS also includes the new healthcare marketing and advertising agency Evoke, which specialises in the growing market for digital communications.

With the AXIS purchase, Huntsworth will now be able to offer integrated services in the healthcare sector having a global network and critical mass of more than 500 employees worldwide. The company will also be well positioned in the global and US healthcare communications marketplaces.

AXIS was from Neil Matheson and six other shareholders who are members of the senior management team of the company. Neil Matheson will continue to lead the business following the acquisition and will report to David Rowley, CEO of Huntsworth Health.

In FY06, AXIS had consolidated profit before tax of USD 2.6m, while consolidated gross assets as of 31 December 2006 were USD 14.4m.

Lord Chadlington, CEO of Huntsworth, said: "We are delighted to announce the acquisition of AXIS, which is another important strategic step towards achieving a leadership position in the global, integrated healthcare communications business."

"Together, AXIS and Dorland provide the foundation for a powerhouse business in the US which, when teamed with our European presence, strengthens our global healthcare communications network.  The services provided by AXIS are complementary to the market research, advertising, and public relations services that we already offer through Huntsworth Health UK and the recently acquired Dorland Global in the US," added Lord Chadlington.

Neil Matheson, CEO of AXIS, said: "In order to continue to realise our vision of being the world's leading integrated healthcare communications company, we were looking for a partner that would enable us to expand our service offering while also expanding our network on a global basis.  I am thrilled that we have found the perfect partner in Huntsworth and I am very excited about the range of integrated services we can now offer our clients through the Huntsworth global network."

18th July 2007

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