£40m merger creates online industry leader

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A £40M merger between two online pharmacy businesses has created a business with 1.5m customers that has laid claim to be the “clear, digital-only leader” in its industry.

Leeds-based Pharmacy2U and ChemistDirect.co.uk, headquartered in Oldbury, West Midlands, has come together with the support of £10m funding from Business Growth Fund.
Pharmacy2U opened a £3.5m dispensing hub in Leeds earlier this year, the first of its kind in the UK, which is capable of dispensing one million prescription items a month. 
The chief executive of the new combined business will be ChemistDirect.co.uk Chief Executive Mark Livingstone, who has previously worked for innovative internet-based businesses including LoveFilm and Graze.com. 
He said: “This is a landmark moment for internet pharmacy in the UK.   We are creating the leading ‘pure play’ business in the sector – with unrivalled experience, facilities and scale.
“It is the beginning of a new era of convenience and choice for millions more patients, as we open up the full potential of internet pharmacy for the first time.
“BGF has confidence in our plans, and their long-term, minority partner approach was the right fit for the business.” 
Founder and superintendent pharmacist of Pharmacy2U Daniel Lee, who pioneered internet pharmacy in 1999, will take the role of chief operating officer. 
Mr Lee added: “Online pharmacy has now come of age, with 80 per cent of GP surgeries now using the NHS Electronic Prescription Service and patients keen to shop online for health and wellbeing products. 
“Increasing numbers of patients are also seeking the support of online doctor services. This merger means that we are in an unrivalled position to respond to the growing demand for these innovative services.”

BGF was advised by Squire Patton Boggs, led by Richard Hunt and assisted by Jonathan Ross and Peter Morley.

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