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News : Irish Last Updated: Jul 26, 2012 - 9:18 AM

Ireland's United Drug subject of lawsuit in the US for breach of confidentiality
By Finfacts Team
Jul 26, 2012 - 7:25 AM

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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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