UDG Healthcare has acquired commercial, marketing and medical audit firm STEM Marketing in a deal worth up to £84m.
It continues UDG's acquisitive run and follows its purchase of UK healthcare communications consultancy Pegasus for up to £16.8m earlier this year, and deals with KnowledgePoint360, Galliard and Nyxeon in 2014.
Buying STEM Marketing will expand the commercial and clinical service offering of UDG's Ashfield business and complement its Ashfield Healthcare Communications global offering.
Brendan McAtamney, chief executive of UDG Healthcare, said: “STEM is an excellent strategic fit for UDG and is wholly aligned with our global growth strategy of expanding our market leading positions providing services to the pharmaceutical sector.
“We place great emphasis on cultural fit when looking at potential acquisition opportunities and STEM comes with an excellent management team, which will become an important part of our client offering and the wider UDG Healthcare Group.”
STEM's service sees it quantify and benchmark companies' organisational alignment and quality of execution to create action plans for accelerating brand performance.
It was set up in 2007 by former AstraZeneca sales and marketing director Rob Wood and David McNaughton, who was previously an oncology team leader at Pfizer.
STEM's business spans 35 countries and it works for 18 of the top 20 largest pharmaceutical companies. Earlier this year it won a Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
Rob Wood, chief executive of STEM, said: “We are delighted to begin an exciting new chapter for STEM as part of the UDG Healthcare Group. Our new working relationship with UDG will not only facilitate geographic expansion but will also enable further client offerings and most importantly provide our employees with broader career options and widen our talent pool.”
The company is being acquired for an initial consideration of £55m with an additional consideration of up to £29m, which is based on STEM hitting its own plan and payable over the next three years.
Anthony Harrington, a director at Results Healthcare, which advised on the deal, said STEM is an exceptional business and clearly the market leader in their space.
He added: “This deal clearly shows the strong and sustained trend for larger international businesses to acquire UK and European pharma services businesses. Based on our knowledge of the buyer universe we expect this trend to continue as potential acquirers seek out the best firms in this attractive market.”