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updated: 5/9/2014 10:25 AM

Akorn plans $440M acquisition of VersaPharm

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Associated Press

Lake Forest-based Akorn Inc. has announced plans to spend $440 million in cash to buy the parent company of fellow generic drugmaker VersaPharm Inc. less than a month after it polished off the acquisition of another pharmaceutical company.

Shares of the company soared Friday morning after detailed its next acquisition.

Akorn said its latest deal will complement the manufacturing platform it gained through its $640 million purchase of Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co. Hi-Tech makes a range of oral treatments as well as ointments and nasal sprays. It specializes in hard-to-make liquid and semi-solid dosage forms.

VersaPharm is a privately held company that develops topical treatments and focuses on niche therapeutic areas like dermatology and hemophilia.

"This acquisition is a highly strategic fit with the recently acquired Hi-Tech platform as well as Akorn's focus on niche dosage forms," CEO Raj Rai said in a statement from the company.

Akorn said it will fund the deal with loans, and fully committed financing has been provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank. The drugmaker expects the acquisition to add as much as $100 million in annual revenue, and it said the deal should close in the third quarter.

Shares of Akorn jumped 4 percent, or 98 cents, to $25.68 in midmorning trading, while the Nasdaq exchange was largely flat.

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