Friday 2nd February 2018
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Life-Space Group, the Melbourne-based probiotics maker founded by Kiwi chief executive Craig Silbery, has been sold to Chinese-listed By-Health Group for up to A$690 million.
The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The products are currently distributed in New Zealand through online retailer ANZ Pharma, and the company plans on further New Zealand expansion "in the near future". In Australia, the probiotics are sold at Chemist Warehouse, Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer, which opened its first New Zealand store in Auckland late last year.
In China, Life-Space's products, including its Healthy Essentials, Elmore Oil and Corams brands, have been sold via e-commerce channels since 2014, and the company says sales have rapidly expanded in that market and By-Health is the "most natural owner and the best home for our brands".
The company said there are no plans to stop selling its products via e-commerce, and By-Health is "committed to maintaining the online strategy and current distribution channels of the Life-Space brand. In return, Life-Space Group seeks to leverage By-Health's substantial experience in offline markets in the future."
Zhicheng Lin, chief executive of By-Health, said the acquisition would support it to develop new product categories and channels.
"Life-Space Group may also be able to take advantage of By-Health’s marketing network and channels to improve its own access in China and continue its strong growth momentum," Lin said. “Currently, the probiotics market is one of the fastest growing market segments. Life-Space Group has received public praise for its online experience and brand, and meets the requirements to become a leader in the global probiotics market. The two companies will generate synergies at both a product and business level and explore new growth opportunities in the market."
Silbery designed the original probiotic formula for Life-Space 12 years ago. The business developed the first Australian over-the-counter probiotic formula for pregnant women, and the first probiotic for babies aged six months to three years, both popular products in the New Zealand market, it said.
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