Lifestyle nixes Drive acquisition

Sunday, February 25, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Lifestyle Mobility Aids President Darrin Horst pulled the plug in mid-February on a deal to sell his company to Drive Medical.

“I decided at this time that I didn’t want to do the deal,” Horst said. “It had nothing to do with the aspects of the deal. I just had a change of heart. What can I say: This is my baby.”

Drive reported last fall that it had signed a letter of intent to acquire the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based manufacturer. The deal would have given Drive Lifestyle's rollator line, which has a patented drum brake designed to require less maintenance than more conventional models. Drive also would have picked up a wheelchair that folds up into a handy carrying case.

Diamond and Horst both expressed hope that the deal might come to pass at some future point. But at present, “the timing was not right,” Horst said.

“The relationship is strong,” he added. “We’re excited about the possibilities going forward between the two companies. We’re going to buy some of their products. They’re going to buy some of my products.”

Lifestyle now plans to expand its drum-break system to its manual wheelchairs by late summer or early fall, Horst said.

The car-like breaking system, located inside the rear-wheel hub, is safer than traditional lever breaks and eliminates wear and tear on the wheel, Horst claims.

“I’ve developed a product that could revolutionize not only the rollator industry from a safety aspect but also the wheelchair industry,” he said.