USDL swoops in to top DIS bid for Medical Imaging Centers of America

Deal would make USDL largest imaging center chainU.S. Diagnostic Labs this month displayed again why it has developeda reputation as the most aggressive consolidator in the imagingservices industry. Just as it was completing its acquisition

Deal would make USDL largest imaging center chain

U.S. Diagnostic Labs this month displayed again why it has developeda reputation as the most aggressive consolidator in the imagingservices industry. Just as it was completing its acquisition ofFlorida center chain MediTek, the West Palm Beach, FL, companyannounced that it plans to acquire Medical Imaging Centers ofAmerica.

USDL won the rights to acquire San Diego-based MICA by toppinga bid submitted in June by Diagnostic Imaging Services of LosAngeles (SCAN 6/19/96). The DIS proposal called for an acquisitionat a price of $11.50 a share, while USDL's bid was $11.75. MICAhas been looking for a corporate partner to settle a battle witha dissident shareholder group. DIS terminated its offer in responseto the USDL bid.

USDL believes MICA is a good fit for the company, accordingto chairman and CEO Jeffrey Goffman. USDL had been following MICA'ssearch for a partner, and had conducted due diligence in May thatindicated MICA would probably sell for around $15 a share, a figureUSDL found too pricey. When USDL saw the DIS bid, it decided toact, he said.

A MICA acquisition fits USDL's modus operandi in that MICAis a profitable company with positive cash flow, Goffman said.There are synergies in each firm's center network, although USDLmay merge some MICA centers with its own in areas where thereis overlap. USDL plans to retain key MICA executives, such aschairman and CEO Robert Muehlberg and CFO Denise Sunseri.

Muehlberg believes that MICA executives can offer valuableexperience to USDL, which was formed just three years ago (SCAN5/22/96). At that time, MICA was going through a restructuringthat saw the company post a $30 million loss in 1993. It has sinceput those days behind it.

"We've been in the industry for as long as anyone,"Muehlberg said. "We have experience and management talentthat we will bring to the table to augment the existing structurethat USDL has."

In other USDL news, the company this month completed its acquisitionof MediTek Health of Miami, which USDL bought from Heico for $23million (SCAN 6/19/96). The MediTek acquisition, along with USDL'spurchase this month of Fort Lauderdale Regional MRI Center inFlorida, brings the company's network to 50 wholly or majority-ownedcenters, not counting the proposed MICA deal. Health Images ofAtlanta, for years the largest imaging center chain, has 53 imagingcenters and one radiation oncology center in the U.S. It alsohas five imaging centers in the U.K.