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Meda to Buy MedPointe for $800 Million in Cash, Stock

Swedish drug company Meda said on Friday it signed an $800 million cash-and-stock deal to buy allergy and pain treatment specialist MedPointe. from a group of U.S. investors.

Meda said it would pay $520 million in cash and 17.5 million newly issued Meda shares worth some 1.9 billion Swedish crowns ($286.3 million) based on Friday's 108.5 crown opening price for the stock for the New Jersey-based company.

Meda shares surged on the news, trading nearly 12% higher at 115.75 crowns as of 0727 GMT. "It looks very interesting," said Johan Unnerus, analyst at Swedbank.

"They enter an entirely new market. The price is relatively high compared with earlier acquisitions, but as there is good growth and a lot of product development, that shouldn't be seen as negative," he added.

MedPointe's biggest products are non-steroidal nasal spray Astelin and the allergic conjunctivitis treatment Optivar, Meda said in a statement.

Privately owned MedPointe's sales were $252 million in 2006 with an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) margin of 12%, reflecting high costs related to marketing and clinical development, Meda said.

Gross margins, however, were 90%, the company added. The Swedish company said the MedPointe buy will add to its earnings per share by 2009 at the latest.

The transaction will mean that MedPointe owners Carlyle and Cypress groups and some additional U.S. investors hold about 6% of Meda's shares.

"The acquisition looks positive. They will get more distribution capacity, "said one trader who declined to be identified.

Meda Chief Executive Anders Lonner said the merger made sense from both the marketing and product pipeline standpoints.

"The new product development from both companies can now be utilized in the company instead of being out-licensed, "Lonnersaid. "The product development investment done by MedPointe will represent strong growth potential both on top line and profit."MedPointe has a staff of 710.

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