Bracco buys 15% stake in Esaote

February 14, 1996

Italian medical imaging firms Bracco Diagnostics and Esaote Biomedicaare establishing closer ties, thanks to Bracco's purchase of a15% position in Esaote. The investment complements an R&Deffort between the firms to optimize Bracco's contrast

Italian medical imaging firms Bracco Diagnostics and Esaote Biomedicaare establishing closer ties, thanks to Bracco's purchase of a15% position in Esaote. The investment complements an R&Deffort between the firms to optimize Bracco's contrast agentswith Esaote's ultrasound scanners.

Bracco of Milan purchased the equity position in December,according to Esaote executive vice president Fabrizio Landi. Otherinvestors in Genoa-based Esaote include the vendor's management,with a 13% share of the company, and four groups of institutionalinvestors who hold the rest of shares outstanding.

Bracco's investment grew from a relationship that the companyformed with Esaote early last year for optimizing contrast agentswith imaging devices, Landi said. That collaboration sprang fromthe belief that some new contrast-based imaging techniques, suchas interventional MRI and second-harmonic ultrasound imaging,would benefit from better integration between devices and contrast.

This work will accelerate under the new investment agreement,according to Susanna Leto di Priolo, Bracco director of publicrelations.

"Bracco's acquisition in Esaote is the natural consequenceof agreements already in place concerning research on new contrastmedia for ultrasound diagnostic imaging," said Leto di Priolo."The two companies intend to intensify research in this fieldby uniting the contrast media research capability of Bracco'sGeneva laboratories with the sophisticated technology of Esaote'slaboratories."

Landi emphasized that Esaote devices will not be limited toworking with Bracco agents, and vice versa.

The investment will put Esaote on firm footing as the companylays the groundwork for an initial public offering later thisyear. Esaote plans to offer a large number of shares on the Milanstock exchange. Existing Esaote shareholders will continue tohold a majority stake in the company, Landi said.

"A solid part of our shares is now owned by industrialpartners," Landi said, which should help Esaote keep a long-termperspective as it releases stock to the public.