The word on the street is that CVS has acquired US Bioservices from AmerisourceBergen….. and it seems that CVS is treating it as a closely guarded secret. CVS only issued a ‘notice of a recent transaction’ only sufficient to meet SEC disclosure requirements. Moreover, the acquisition price was neither disclosed nor even hinted at. That alone seems very atypical for a top tier specialty pharmacy acquisition.
It has now been over two weeks and only one other blog post has so far made a passing reference to the deal!
US Bioservices was first acquired by Amerisource Bergen (ABC) in early 2003 for $160 million. It has been a leading specialty pharmacy….. but never gained sufficient traction to break into the Top 10 nationally. None the less, it is said to have turned in a very meaningful $1.5+ billion in 2021….. nothin’ to sneeze at!
Is this acquisition a surprise?
Not at all….. CVS acquired a variety of specialty pharmacy assets over the past decade. Does US Bioservices fill any other missing asset gaps?…. not really. CVS nailed down geographic access nationally years ago. There may be some payer deals that will be accretive to the CVS portfolio. CVS has many footholds in limited distribution deals with pharma (there might be a few therapies where CVS was not invited to play). And, there might also be some elements of specialty distribution that accrued to US Bio because of the ABC affiliation…. but, nothing is readily discernable.
So, why did AmerisourceBergen pull the plug on US Bioservices?
First, it is unlikely that ABC needed the cash…. unless ABC has plans to invest in a totally new direction. Second, wholesalers have stumbled trying to leverage their purchasing positions while simultaneously driving specialty pharmacy revenues in their owned SP shops. By comparison, Cardinal exited specialty pharmacy a few years ago. And, after several failed attempts over the past decade+, McKesson remains the lone holdout following its acquisition of Biologics which has had a stellar run competing for limited distribution therapies…. often as the exclusive provider.