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CMA clears path for Bestway Healthcare’s acquisition of Lexon UK, Asurex

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Following a period of prolonged uncertainty, the Competition and Markets Authority has given its approval to Bestway Healthcare’s acquisition of Lexon UK and Asurex. The company expects the transactions to be finalised in the upcoming months.

In April, Bestway, the owner of Well Pharmacy, acquired Asurex Limited and Lexon UK Holdings, along with the 44-community pharmacy chain Norchem Group, known as Knights Pharmacy. However, in June, the CMA raised competition-related concerns about the transaction, citing worries that the acquisition could lead to a significant decrease in competition among retail pharmacies across 12 areas in Liverpool and the northeastern region of England.

The CMA had asked undertakings from Bestway Healthcare due to competition concerns affecting specific branches of Knights Pharmacy within the acquisition. In July, the CMA indicated its readiness to approve the deal, contingent upon Bestway’s completion of the required divestments.

According to Bestway Healthcare, This matter has been successfully resolved, as Bestway Healthcare has consented to the sale of seven pharmacies in Liverpool and the northeastern region of England. “The impacted Well pharmacies are situated in Seaham, Bishop Auckland, Kenton, High Howden, Stockton, Moreton, and Pensby. Buyers for all seven branches have been identified and contracts have been signed.”

Now the acquisition has officially gained approval, Bestway said in a statement.

“We are delighted that the CMA has accepted our commitments, and we can now extend a warm welcome to the dedicated colleagues in the 44 Knights pharmacies and Chemist.net as they join the Bestway Healthcare family,” said Seb Hobbs, CEO of Bestway Healthcare. “Since the initial announcement of the acquisition, these past months have been bustling, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved for their unwavering dedication to shaping this united entity into an exceptional company.”

“We are excited to bring the 44 Knights pharmacies and Chemist.net together with Well, Lexon, Medhub, Wardles, Knights Fragrances and Key Pharmaceuticals,” Hobbs added. “We look forward to embarking on our next chapter together, serving more patients, customers and communities throughout the UK.”

Meanwhile, the Company Chemists’ Association recently stated that a significant majority of distance selling pharmacies are presently violating their NHS contracts. Inadequate regulation of these ‘pseudo’ distance selling pharmacies is contributing to the closure of local pharmacies.

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