Hy-Vee Inc. plans to acquire Amber Pharmacy, an Omaha, Neb.-based specialty pharmacy provider.

Hy-Vee, Amber Pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, acquisition, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, Randy Edeker, Michael Agostino, William Kaplan Sr., supermarket operator, food and drug chain, pharmacies

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Hy-Vee to buy specialty pharmacy Amber

February 18th, 2014

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Hy-Vee Inc. plans to acquire Amber Pharmacy, an Omaha, Neb.-based specialty pharmacy provider.

Terms of the acquisition deal weren't disclosed. The food and drug chain said Monday that the acquisition enables it to expand its specialty pharmacy business and provide customers with more specialty drug options, access and affordability.

Hy-Vee and Amber Pharmacy have been partners in Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, a specialty pharmacy joint venture formed in early 2010.

"The partnership between Hy-Vee and Amber Pharmacy has been very successful over the last four years," Hy-Vee chairman and chief executive officer Randy Edeker said in a statement. "Specialty pharmacy continues to experience tremendous growth. Amber Pharmacy's talented team, innovative practices and commitment to customer service will allow us to respond to that growth while meeting and exceeding our customer needs."

Hy-Vee reported that the acquisition has been approved by both companies' boards and, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close in the next 30 days.

Plans call for Amber Pharmacy to retain its name and operations, including its Omaha headquarters and locations in Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia. Hy-Vee said Amber will operate independently and continue to be led by its current president Michael Agostino, as well as retain all of its employees.

"The Kaplan family's history with Hy-Vee, along with their commitment to customer service, health and wellness, makes them an ideal partner to grow Amber Pharmacy's presence," stated Amber CEO William Kaplan Sr., whose family started the company in 1998. "Together, we will continue to be trusted partners with our patients, health care providers, insurance payers and manufacturers."

When Hy-Vee and Amber announced the formation of Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, they said the venture aimed to provide more accessible services for patients dealing with complex and chronic health conditions. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions supports such diseases and conditions as oncology, blood disorders, Crohn's disease, growth hormone, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Overall, Hy-Vee operates 235 supermarkets — virtually all with pharmacies — in eight Midwestern states. The retailer also operates about two dozen stand-alone drug stores.

Hy-Vee is the latest supermarket operator to make an acquisition in the fast-growing specialty pharmacy market. In December, Giant Eagle Inc. said it purchased Rx21 Specialty Pharmacy. And in November 2012, Kroger Co. announced a deal to acquire specialty pharmacy Axium Pharmacy Holdings Inc.