Irish competition watchdog blocks Uniphar’s acquisition of Navi

16 Dec 2022

Image: © jjfoto/

The CCPC found that Uniphar acquiring Navi would ‘substantially lessen competition’ in Ireland.

Uniphar’s proposed acquisition of Irish pharma services group Navi has been blocked by Ireland’s competition watchdog.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said the deal would give Uniphar sole control of NaviCorp, which trades as Navi Group, and its wholly owned subsidiaries Thera Pharmaceuticals, CarePlus Pharmacy, TouchPlus Technologies and Pembroke Healthcare.

It argued that the takeover, which was first announced a year ago, may not be put into effect on the grounds that “the result of the proposed acquisition will be to substantially lessen competition in markets for services in the State”.

Dublin-headquartered Uniphar provides supply chain and retail services to medtech and pharma companies in the US and Europe.

It announced plans to acquire Navi Group in December 2021, along with two other pharma companies based in the UK.

In April this year, the CCPC launched a full investigation into the acquisition and subsequently issued an assessment to the parties in September.

The competition regulator has now concluded that the deal will lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” for buying group services in the State and for common management and branding services in the State. It will publish a full determination on its website in 60 days.

Dublin-headquartered Navi works with partners in Middle East and North African countries, as well as with its Irish connections. The pharmaceutical retail, buying and tech company was expected to enable Uniphar to strengthen its own digital platforms and scalable tech offerings.

John Carroll, CEO of Navi Group, said at the time the acquisition was first announced that his company and Uniphar have been partners for many years and share a common goal – “to provide best-in-class services to community pharmacy, driven by innovative digital solutions”.

The interested parties can now appeal the CCPC decision in the High Court within 40 days.

Last month, Uniphar acquired Dutch pharma group BModesto in a €75m deal to strengthen its product access offering “in Europe and beyond”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic