Bayer to Buy Vitamin Company Care/Of for $225 Million

Bayer AG agreed to buy online vitamin and health supplement company Care/of as the German drugmaker aims to expand its nutrition business.

Bayer is acquiring 70% of the four-year-old business in a transaction that values the company at $225 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Bayer will have an option to buy the rest by 2022, said the person, who asked to not be identified because the terms of the transaction are private.

The German company is seeking growth from new sources in an effort to move on from a $1.6 billion settlement of litigation over its Essure contraceptive device and an $11 billion deal to resolve cases involving its Roundup weedkiller.

Bayer shares rose as much as 1% Tuesday morning in Frankfurt.

The deal is an “important milestone” for both Bayer and Care/of, said Bayer spokesman Dan Childs, who declined to comment on the terms.

“We believe this model and product type has the ability to expand into traditional retail channels as we aim to reach new consumers,” Childs said in a statement. “Together we plan to grow the Care/of business across new channels, new categories and new markets to deliver even more personalized nutrition.”

A representative for Care/of didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Care/of was founded in New York City by Craig Elbert and Akash Shah in 2016, according to its website. The company sells vitamin subscriptions as well as accessories such as reusable drink bottles and coffee cups. It was valued at $156 million in 2018 after raising funds from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s venture capital unit.

The purchase comes after Bayer agreed to buy British women’s health biotech Kandy Therapeutics Ltd. in a $875 million deal this month.

The transaction is another example of investors’ increasing appetite for digital-health businesses in the midst of a global pandemic. Telemedicine company Hims Inc., which sells wellness and health-care products, is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check company Oaktree Acquisition Corp. Earlier this month, Teladoc Health Inc. said it was acquiring Livongo Health Inc. for about $18.5 billion.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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