Pet drugs firm Animalcare is to expand into Europe with a “truly transformational” takeover of a Belgian firm that will give it sales operations in seven countries.
York-based Animalcare said the deal will be part-funded by a placing to raise £32.7m.
The target is Ecuphar, a European animal health company that develops and sells veterinary pharmaceutical products.
The deal values Ecuphar at £134.6m and the enlarged group is expected to be valued by the stock market at over £210m.
The acquisition constitutes a reverse takeover under AIM Rules and is conditional upon shareholder approval.
Ecuphar is led by founder and CEO Chris Cardon and Animalcare said that he is supported by "a strong and highly experienced management team".
The group said that Animalcare and Ecuphar are highly complementary businesses, in particular with regard to their geographic markets, product portfolios and new product development pipelines.
It added that the deal will create a specialist pan-European animal health company that will give it leadership in its chosen niches.
The firm will have direct sales organisations in seven countries, a big jump for Animalcare which currently only has one in the UK.
The new group will export to 50 markets and will have 98 sales representatives and 28 agents.
Last year Ecuphar made revenues of £68.4m and earnings of £8.9m.
The enlarged group will own 50 licenced drugs, eight vaccines and over 100 care and nutraceutical products.
Animalcare said the new firm will be a growing, highly cash generative, dividend paying company with a solid pipeline of new products. It is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first full financial year of ownership.
Mr Cardon will take over as CEO and Animalcare's current CEO Iain Menneer will move to chief operating officer. James Lambert will step down as chairman, but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
Mr Menneer said: “We are very pleased to present to shareholders this highly complementary acquisition which will provide enhanced scale and capabilities for the group and create a pan-European animal health platform from which to accelerate growth.
"The acquisition will be truly transformational. It will expand our direct sales operation to cover seven countries and our international reach into 50 export markets, as well as greatly increasing the depth and diversity of our licensed veterinary medicines product range.”