Merge Healthcare to acquire eTrials after Bio-Imaging bid collapses

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mergers and acquisitions

IT solutions firm Merge Healthcare has won the race to buy eClinical specialist etrials, beating previous suitor Bio-Imaging Technologies whose takeover bid collapsed on Monday.

Milwaukee, US based Merge has agreed to pay just over $18m (€13m) in cash and stock for eTrials, bettering the revised $15m offer that Bio-Imaging tabled late last month.

Merge said the acquisition will allow it to provide drug industry sponsors and contract research organisations (CROs) with a range of “configurable solutions that include both critical imaging technologies and proven eClinical capabilities​.”

CEO Justin Dearborn explained the deal: “enables both companies to leverage the other's customer relationships, from pharmaceutical companies, CROs, medical device manufacturers and veterinary hospitals.

etrials' offerings have no overlap with Merge's products. We believe that this acquisition will deliver significant added value to each company's customers, partners and shareholders."

Denis Connaghan, etrials’ CEO, added that the merger, which is expected to complete by the end of the year, “gives the etrials organisation a broader base of financial, product and development resources and international relationships​.”

Bio-Imaging deal

As recently as early May Bio-Imaging, soon to be renamed BioClinica, was odds-on favourite to acquire etrials with CEO Mark Weinstein consistently enthusing about the synergies the deal would provide.

However, on May 11 the firm upped its bid for etrials in response to an unsolicited offer from a then unnamed rival suitor.

On Monday June 1 Bio-Imaging finally threw in the towel and withdrew its revised offer because, according to Weinstein, “it would not be in the best interest of our shareholders to pursue this acquisition further​.”

He added that: “Although we are disappointed with the outcome, we will continue to actively look for other acquisitions that would add value and expand our [electronic clinical software] services​.”

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