Australia: Middletons acts on A$375 million sale of Ascent to Watson
Last Updated: 31 January 2012

Middletons acted on behalf of the sellers of the Australian and Southeast Asian generic pharmaceutical business, Ascent Pharmahealth. Ascent's businesses operate as Ascent Pharmaceuticals in Australia and across Asia under the banners of DHA (Drug Houses of Australia) and Ascent Pharmahealth Asia.

Middletons lead partner on the transaction, John Mann said, "This was a global transaction involving teams in the UK, US, India, Singapore and Australia completed in a little under a month. The deal was successful thanks to a great team at Herbert Smith, led by Alan Montgomery, who worked alongside us and an excellent relationship with Freehills, representing the buyer, Watson Pharmaceuticals."

In explaining the deal's complexity and challenges Mr Mann said, "The vendor due diligence process was extensive culminating in a 1,000 page due diligence report being produced in a little over a week. This included overseeing the arrangements between the shareholders, the preparation and negotiation of numerous transaction documents and providing regulatory advice and complex completion mechanics."

Mr Mann said that "under the terms of the sale and purchase agreement, Watson acquired Ascent Pharmahealth for AU$375 million (US$393 million)."

The deal includes a network of approximately 300 employees across eight countries in Australia and South East Asia and a manufacturing facility in Singapore.

Ascent's Australian generic pharmaceutical products are supplemented with leading consumer brands like Avene (Skincare), Hairy Lemon (OTC) and Estelle (Private Prescription Medicine). Ascent's principal medical specialty in Australia is Dermatology. Over the past year the Company has developed and expanded its range of prescription and consumer dermatological products to create a total range for the treatment and management of acne, psoriasis and eczema.

Mr Mann said, "We expect this busy start to the year to continue with a strong pipeline of deals likely to result in much more M&A activity as opportunities arise."

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