Bestway Nantwich

Source: Bestway

Well is buying Lexon’s wholesale and data services business, and its 42 community pharmacies

Bestway-owned Well Pharmacy has completed a deal to acquire pharmaceutical wholesaler Lexon UK.

The undisclosed deal will see Well take ownership of Lexon’s wholesale and data services business, as well as its network of 42 community pharmacies, currently trading as Knights Pharmacy. Bestway has also acquired Asurex, a fragence and perfume wholesaler, from the same ownership as part of the process. 

Lexon MD Anup Sodha will remain in charge, and will be joined by Lexon directors Anand Sodha and Nimesh Sodha in making the switch to The Bestway Group, along with about 1,200 staff.

Both businesses have engaged in prenotification discussions with the Competition & Markets Authority, which will review the acquisition.

Family-owned Lexon supplies 3,000 retail pharmacies from five depots in Redditch, Leeds, Durham, East Kilbride and Dublin. It also manufactures generic pharmaceuticals and provides data solutions to the pharmacy sector.

“Through this acquisition we seek to augment our growth momentum and bring in even greater benefits to both community pharmacies and patients,” said Bestway Group CFO Haider Choudrey. “Well Pharmacy had been searching for a target to expand its footprint and complement its growth trajectory and we are confident that Lexon fits this criterion.”

Well Pharmacy CEO Seb Hobbs said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the 1,200-strong team at Lexon and Asurex to Well and the broader Bestway family, and are excited at the chance to grow our business to support even more customers and patients than ever before.

“We know that Lexon share our ethos as a values-orientated family business and that by bringing together our expertise we will be able to grow all aspects of our business by building on each other’s strengths.”

In February 2022, Lexon was one of four companies fined a collective £35m by the CMA for its involvement in a high-profile price rigging case involving the anti-nausea drug prochlorperazine.

A Times investigation found that from 2013 to 2017, Lexon, along with another company, agreed to stay out of the market in exchange for a cut of the profits from the drug-maker. The company appealed the decision in April 2022 and its appeal is set to be heard before the Competition Appeal Tribunal between June and August this year.

That followed a separate case in March 2020, when the company was fined alongside three other pharmaceutical companies after it was deemed by the CMA to have shared commercially sensitive information about the antidepressant drug nortriptyline in order to try and manipulate prices.

Lexon appealed the £1.2m fine, but the decision was upheld by the CMA in February 2021. In January 2022, former Lexon director Pritesh Sonpal was disqualified by the CMA from holding a director or management position for four years for his involvement in the case.

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