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MedicX's 21 branches sold

Some MedicX pharmacies received more than 30 offers, says its broker

The multiple’s management team says it has reinvested in nine of the pharmacies in north-west England

Independent chain MedicX Pharmacy has sold its 21 branches, including nine pharmacies that will be led by the previous management.

MedicX Pharmacy’s management team will continue to supervise nine branches in north-west England, which have been bought for an undisclosed sum by investment company Bridges Ventures. The pharmacies would be relaunched under the brand Hub Pharmacy, Bridges Ventures announced yesterday (June 2).

Broker Christie + Co, which oversaw the sale of all 21 branches, said there had been “unprecedented interest” in the chain. It told C+D that the identity of the 10 owners of the 12 pharmacies not bought by Bridges Ventures was still confidential, and did not disclose sale prices.

The three-strong MedicX Pharmacy management team have all invested in the Hub Pharmacy brand. MedicX Pharmacy CEO Steve Jeffers told C+D that it would be “business as normal” for the nine pharmacies and patients would not be affected.

“All of the team members who worked in the pharmacies last week are still working this week. We hope to build the business over the next few years and increase employment,” he added.

"Buy and build" strategy

Bridges Ventures said it intended to refit the branches to provide additional services to patients, such as smoking cessation, weight loss and minor ailments services. Its purchase of nine pharmacies was the start of a “buy and build” strategy, said the company, with “a number of other acquisitions under consideration”.

The MedicX Pharmacy chain was put up for sale last year, when it consisted of 13 branches in north-west England, as well as five in London and the south east, two in Yorkshire and one in Wiltshire. Christie + Co had received “in excess of 200 offers” for the branches, which director of pharmacy Tony Evans said demonstrated the “strong appetite for pharmacies across the UK”.

“I am particularly pleased to see many of the pharmacies sell to independent operators and first-time buyers,” Mr Evans added.  
 


Have you considered buying or selling a pharmacy in the past year? 

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30 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of this story?

John Ellis, Community pharmacist

Hub and spoke pharmacy reduces the overall cost of dispensing, readying the industry for the dispensing fee to be put out to tender.

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

Oh i see. Well obviously the MedicX Business Model didn't work so i suppose trying another line of attack makes sense. Particularly when you are using other peoples moneu and not your own. Watch this space only time will tell.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

OMG what a boring debate!

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

i know ive mentioned this before but has anyone got a clue where the tale about MedicX/ The Hub!!!! is up to. My good friend who works for them is very concerned about the current situation. Thete is little news imparted to them. in addition when i visit the Chorley one the shop is extremely unkempt untidy and in fsvt in need of a good cleaning. It doesnt appearbthey employ a cleaner anymore!!!! Not too long ago MedicX was an outspoken and vociferous entity always keen to jump om any soap box available. Paticulary Birchall who appeared to be their chief press officrr. There is a distinct paucity of informati8n forthcoming- whatbthat bodes im not sure but hopefully things will pan out.

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

PS. They definately need a cleaner at Chorley. The place is absolutely mingin and a poor example to set.

Mr Smith, Pharmaceutical Adviser

This is a good deal all round, this group was Private Equity owned and generated a good IRR, it amazes me that more PE houses haven't invested into the Pharmacy sector, its a robust business model that generates very good returns when run correctly. The bottom line is Pharmacy continues to be a good, profitable sector where businesses can command 8/9 times adjusted net profit for the goodwill.

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

Dear Jennifer Richardson. I am a little baffled as to why you have included me in your list of people to give advice to re. deleting/editing/amending comments. My recent posts unlike the others have not been touched so i am not sure why you feel the need to repeat the advice you gave me some time ago. I do like others find it bizarre the number of posts from all sources regarding MedicX that apparently conflict with your principles in comparison to all other subjects and postings.

Jennifer Richardson, Editorial

Hi Sally, I included you simply because you queried the need for moderation and the reply included that explanation. Many thanks for taking note of my previous message. Jennifer

Jennifer Richardson, Editorial

Dear Kalpesh, Sally, N O and London Locum, The C+D Community Principles exist primarily for two reasons. Firstly, to encourage a constructive, professional community in which all users feel able to contribute to the debate. And secondly, to comply with the law. Sometimes these two aims may appear conflicting and for every complaint like yours that we are overcensoring we get one asking us to be tougher on what others view as inappropriate behaviour. At C+D we try very hard to tread the fine line of supporting the principle of freedom of expression while discouraging inappropriate behaviour. We recognise that not everyone will always agree with where we draw this line and, of course, that sometimes we will get it wrong. In this case, though, the comments that have been deleted and/or edited on this story were done so not in the course of trying to tread this tricky line but because of the need to comply with C+D's legal obligations as a publisher. I have this morning written to you all directly to expand on this (Sally, the email address registered with your account bounces back - please email me at [email protected] and I will forward on).

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Hi Jennifer, Thanks for the mail. Please note my earlier comments were no accusations on either of the parties mentioned by you. It was just an open minded opinion given based on verbal communications with few other people. This is your magazine and you have all the right to moderate the activity, but sometimes it becomes very obvious that these decisions are influenced. In any case, I will try and stick to the community principles as stated by you. I'm still confused as to how other online forums like dailymail etc never delete any message even when a foul language is used. Whatever happened to the freedom of speech in a democratic country!!!

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

I don't think the number of 'padding pieces' featuring MedicX pharmacies and the 'innovative redesigns' that filled the C+D over the last 18 months had any affect on the moderating decisions. I believe the decisions are based entirely on their merits, and no other factors affect them. It certainly doesn't suggest a pre-existing relationship with the business which may provide an explanation as to why negative comments about their actions were removed.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching the community principles - C+D

Super Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The pharmacy market is so overinflated at the moment that only the worst financially worse off & dodge businesses are not selling. Even FTBs who seem happy to buy anything going will find out that things are not as rosy or profitable as they seem unless they buy a very low volume pharmacy, work very hard to build up numbers & only make profit by selling off a few years down the line. Of course, I am not a pharmacy owner so I could be talking a load of rubbish!

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

Couldnt agree more these last few comments are right on the money. I sincerely hope they dont get redacted/edited/amended. It would be bang out of order and highly suspicious.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Okay, I'll try my earlier statement in the following way and see if it still breaches the community principles blah, blah, blah. I am a broker and have been approached by a firm to sell off all of its shops for a maximum profit. I do my own survey of the business and put a price tag on it and put it out for confidential dealing s only, which means only those people signing my discloser form can access the data. Within a few days when there are lot of people approaching and the madness increases, I up the price by one fifth of a hundred and tell the caller that his/ her offer is way below the current offer in hand. I arrange for the viewings and then when they call back I tell them their chance would be higher if they increased their offer to a certain level and suggest that there is a loads of potential and this is a once in a life time opportunity (as I know these are all first time or independent buyers desperate for buying a Pharmacy) So ultimately I end up getting an increase of 80% more than what I had initially put as an offer, without the buyer regretting (leave alone realising) for paying that price. I am so clever that I lure these people by even saying you can beat the multiples by quoting certain price (despite the fact that the multiples were never interested in the first place) Then, all of a sudden, I go underground without any further negotiations saying the sale process is stalled. Then after 6 months I announce that a deal has been approached !! How tough bargainer I am ??? I leave it to all of you to decide !!!

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Oh I forgot to add, after all this I make sure there is a press release in major online Pharmacy Magazines. Then I would encourage one or more of the new owners to visit these websites to support the transaction and give thumbs down to anyone who is speaking against. I would I also make sure that, some of the comments (which tell the truth and expose me and my clients) be deleted/ moderated by the editor. Of course, you know, people have to follow the community principles !!!

Marc Borson, Community pharmacist

please can you NOT redact this chaps comments, i really like them and we need more people to share their experiences on forums like these. Indeed a professional has to be honest, not turn a blind eye and not lie. The open market must be allowed to dictate the price of an asset. I hope that that has occurred here, and i assume it has. There will always be a level of competition for scarce assets when the willing buyers are quite numerous therefore creating demand.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

mr butt I heard about the price paid for these pharmacies. Good luck to you and your return on investment. These are not grocery shops

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

I see a lot of moderation by the editor. Something smells fishy here. What are you trying to hide?

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

Yes always a lot of moderation takes place when the subject of MedicX crops up. Just cant fathom out why!!!!!??? Forgive me i may be somewhat thick but amongst all the diatribe no one offers a simple explanation why a successful and supposedly profitable expanding chain has to be sold in the first place. One has to assume rightly or wrongly the original investors pulled out. Why though. Then i assume the sale takes place to return their investment and clear outstanding debt which was significant according to companies house. Then a new venture capitalist is found to run nine pharmacies. So in effect this is MedicX with a new name as it was in 2009. The only difference being it only had one branch back then. What am i missing or is it just financial wheeling and dealing with a pharmacy chain being used as the vehicle to move funds and shed debt.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

A lot of moderation going on. I wonder why??

Sally James, Non healthcare professional

It begs the question if MedicX was such a success story why did the orriginal investors pull out? One to twenty one shops in such a short time and now back to nine. Hardly a great acheivement. I wonder what the truth and reality behind it actually is.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""""All of the team members who worked in the pharmacies last week are still working this week."""" ... For how many weeks though ???? &&&& """"""We hope to build the business over the next few years and increase employment"""" ... oh Come on, same statements every time a new venture is started. MedicX said the same but they sold within a very short span and all 3 big shots have invested in this new name HUB ?? How long will we allow this kind of fooling around ???

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Nah, the hub and spoke model will allow the staff to be retrained to deliver services. They'll get qualifications, maybe even a career and decent hours like you've wanted all these years you've loyally stuck with the company. Just ask Lloy.......oh wait no hours are savagely cut leaving an unmanageable workload for those poor sods left behind. (I cringe when I think of some of the optimistic Tech comments I heard about the impending hub....they really thought this was the start of some new exciting stage of their career - I remeber thinking at the time it was like cows on their way to the slaughter house wondering where they were going on holiday.....)

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Smoke and mirrors. Or should I say blowing smoke with no hope....

Aryan Butt,

How can you knock Christies? They were instructed by the vendor who paid them to get the best price.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

*This comment has been deleted for breaching the community principles - C+D

Aryan Butt,

We purchased 2 out of the 12.* All credit to both the vendors and Christies in that once they had agreed a deal with us on one of the pharmacies they did receive a significantly higher offer out of time which they refused to entertain. *This comment has been edited for references to previously deleted comments

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

*This comment has been deleted for breaching the community principles - C+D

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching the community principles - C+D

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