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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / BARBARA MURPHY

Utah Firm to Buy Parent of Simi Valley-based Pharmanex

October 13, 1998|BARBARA MURPHY

Nu Skin Enterprises, a skin-care and nutritional-products company with $890.6 million in 1997 sales, has agreed to buy Generation Health Holdings for as much as $108.1 million in stock, assumed debt and additional payments.

Generation Health is the parent of Simi Valley-based Pharmanex, which had about $12 million in sales for the first three quarters of this year and owns plants in China and Chile that make food supplements from herbs and mushrooms. Principal Pharmanex stockholders, including Chicago's Pritzker family, Chase Venture Partners and Fidelity Ventures, approved the acquisition terms, Nu Skin representatives said.

Nu Skin, which is based in Provo, Utah, will pay 4.1 million of its common shares, valued at about $45, and assume about $30 million in debt. The final price may include as much as $33 million in additional payments, depending on market conditions and Nu Skin stock performance in the year after closing.

The purchase will allow Nu Skin to bolster revenue by adding more high-grade health supplements to the products it sells and by expanding its distribution network in China.

"We believe that Pharmanex's extensive contacts and familiarity with the greater China region will enhance our future opportunities for growth in the People's Republic of China and also in Taiwan," said Steven Lund, Nu Skin's president and chief executive.

Pharmanex makes a supplement from green tea to fight environmental pollution and another from a Tibetan mushroom that it says promotes healthy lung function. Nu Skin said it plans to merge the company into its existing Interior Design Nutritionals, but to keep the name Pharmanex.

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