McKesson (MCK), a health care services and information technology company, announced it agreed to purchase privately held US Oncology, a cancer treatment and research company, for approximately $2.16 billion, including the assumption of US Oncology's outstanding debt.

US Oncology is affiliated with more than 1,300 community-based oncologists, the companies said, providing a range of services from research to clinical tools to office support. Together, the combined organization will focus on providing comprehensive offerings in cancer care, one of the fastest-growing segments in health care, the companies said.

These will include expanded clinical expertise, clinical research and personalized medicine offerings; health care information technology; consultancy services; and distribution capabilities and supply-chain expertise.

The companies said the transaction is expected to close by Dec. 31, and they anticipate that substantially all of US Oncology's debt will be repaid or refinanced. Excluding transaction and integration costs, McKesson expects the purchase to be neutral to its earnings per share this fiscal year and "modestly accretive" next year.

"McKesson is committed to improving the health and vitality of our customers, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of patients," the company said in a statement. "The combination of US Oncology and McKesson will enhance our ability to achieve these goals in one of the most important segments in health care. Community oncology practices need strategic support that offers not only technology and distribution solutions, but also value-added clinical and reimbursement management services that enable them to provide the highest-quality, most efficient care to their patients."

"With the health care marketplace moving rapidly toward reimbursement based on quality and cost-effectiveness, our physician customers need access to deep clinical, operational and information technology capabilities to create integrated networks that continually enhance the quality of care in a cost-efficient manner," said Chairman and CEO of US Oncology Bruce Broussard, who will head the combined McKesson Specialty Care Solutions unit.


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