Merriam-Graves calls off Lincare deal

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

CHARLESTOWN, N.H. - Merriam Graves, which operates 15 to 20 HME locations in New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, said no thanks recently to Lincare’s acquisition offer, according to industry sources.

The deal fell through during due diligence, which was scheduled to wrap up by the end of June. Initially, Lincare offered an attractive price, which eliminated other bidders, but during due diligence the national lowered the price to a level Merriam Graves considered unacceptable, say industry sources.

Issues with Merriam Graves’ AR reportedly lead Lincare to back off its initial offer. Industrial gas giant Praxair is now rumored to be interested in Merriam-Graves.

Merriam Graves officials did not return phone calls for this story.

Merriam-Graves is a subsidiary of an industrial gas company by the same name. The HME derives 60% to 70% of its revenue from home respiratory services and, according to a competitor, supplies “a ton” of liquid oxygen.

Merriam-Graves is one of the few independent companies in New England to actively pursue acquisitions over the past few years.

Concerns regarding impending Medicare DME cuts and billing problems apparently played a role in the owners’ decision to sell, said one source.