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Allergan Set to Purchase Maker of Contact Lenses

March 26, 1985|CARLA LAZZARESCHI | Times Staff Writer

Allergan Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced Monday that it will buy the contact lens division of American Optical Corp., a purchase that would give the Irvine company an important entry into contact lens manufacturing.

Terms of the purchase, still subject to federal antitrust review, were not disclosed.

This is the second time in the last six months that Allergan's corporate parent, SmithKline Beckman Corp., has tried to get into contact lens manufacturing through an acquisition by Allergan, its eye and skin care products subsidiary.

Last fall, the company thought it had an entry with the purchase of International Hydron Corp. of New York. But the $160-million deal fell through within a month when the two companies could not reach agreement on the final sale terms.

However, Norris Battin, Allergan's vice president for acquisitions, said Monday that the current sale hinges only on government review and does not need further approval from the two companies.

American Optical's Contact Lens Division, which had 1984 sales of $33 million, makes and sells a variety of contact lenses and solutions used in their care. Among the products of most interest to Allergan, Battin said, is an American Optical family of products used to care for soft contact lenses, the most rapidly growing segment of the prescription-eye-wear business.

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