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Manchester-based full-service law firm Slater Heelis has acted as legal advisers on the sale of UK-based HL Healthcare Limited, whose over-the-counter ear, nose and throat (ENT) products are sold in 23 countries around the world.

The company has been acquired by Venture Life, a leader in developing, manufacturing and commercialising products for the self-care market listed on the London Stock Exchange, for £13 million.

It marks the latest in a string of healthcare services deals for Slater Heelis, which has long established itself as a leader in the clinical and life science sectors, advising on everything from acquisitions and disposals, to funding rounds and private equity transactions.

This latest transaction sees Venture Life acquire three separate brands owned by HL Healthcare, including Earol, a leading name in the ear wax removal market. Earol is the number one brand sold in UK pharmacies, and the second biggest in UK supermarkets.

The brands, which comprise three approved ENT products are:

  • An olive oil-based product with a patent protected spray delivery system for the reduction and removal of ear wax, sold under the trademarked brand names Earol, Vaxol and Audiol in different territories;
  • An olive oil-based product with a patent protected spray delivery system (plus some antibacterial components for the protection of the ear surfaces when swimming), sold under the trademarked brand name of EarolSwim; and
  • A saline product for nasal flushing sold under the trademarked brand name Sterinase.

The three brands are sold directly to wholesalers and retailers in the UK and to licensing partners internationally, through a distributor network located across Central and Eastern Europe, Canada, and parts of the Middle East.

HL Healthcare is the legal manufacturer of the brands, which are made by a UK third-party manufacturer. As part of this transaction, one employee will be retained, and the founder will be supporting the business post completion.

The company reported year-end (31 March 2022) revenues of £4.5 million and net profit after tax of £1.4 million.

The transaction team at Slater Heelis was led by Partner Simon Wallwork, Associate Partner Janet Robinson and Solicitor Sophie Fleetwood. Janet Robinson comments:

“The brands owned by HL Healthcare are high value and meeting significant market demand, so this is a fantastic acquisition for Venture Life and we were delighted to be instructed by the seller. We’re continuing to see strong deal activity in the clinical and life science sectors, as companies increasingly recognise and look to acquire the high quality assets we have here in the UK to add to their own portfolios. We wish both parties all the best for the future.”

Mark Llewellyn, HL Healthcare founder adds: “We at HL Healthcare Ltd are thrilled to join the Venture Life Group. At HL we have designed, developed and distributed the Earol, EarolSwim and Sterinase brands, which have brought significant clinical benefit to many consumers. It fills me with great pride to know that through VLG’s professionalism, drive and ambition, as well as their well-developed consumer sales, marketing and distribution network, that the benefits of these products will be brought to a much broader and diverse consumer market”.

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