Ireland's United Drug, the
pharmaceutical-services company quoted on the Irish Stock Exchange, is the
subject of a lawsuit in the US which says the chief executive said on an analyst
conference call last November, that a rival was for sale and added that the
competitor, part of Blackstone Group LP, was underperforming.
The Wall Street Journal
reports that last summer Blackstone, the large private equity firm, was
trying to sell its company, Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc., a US commercial
pharmaceutical-packaging business, and the lawsuit says that Sharp Corp.,
a US division of United Drug Plc, indicated its interest in buying the business,
potentially for $80m.
The Journal says United Drug CEO Liam FitzGerald
said on two public conference calls in November that the unit was for sale. The
comments were made in his introductory remarks.
"We are also benefiting from the fact that the
third player in the market, Catalent, is currently going through a sale process
and has been underinvested through its private-equity owners over the last
couple of years, and as a result of those two changes we are picking up a lot of
clients from that business," FitzGerald said on one of the calls, according to a
transcript. "So we are down to, really, a two-player market in the US market."
Catalent on July 10 filed suit in the US District
Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging Sharp and United Drug
breached a confidentiality agreement and damaged the sale process for its
division. The business was sold last month to private-equity firm Frazier
Healthcare Ventures at a price Catalent said was less than the $80m United Drug
had signaled it might be willing to pay, the suit says.
The Journal reports a United Drug spokeswoman
said the company "strongly refutes" the allegations against the parent company
and its subsidiary. "In all its dealings, the United Drug group always acts with
complete integrity, and it isn't in breach of any of its obligations to Catalent
Pharma Solutions. Accordingly, United Drug will be defending its position
vigorously," the spokeswoman added.
Vigorously? We'll see!
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