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Imed’s Buyer, Future Both Still Unknowns

San Diego County Business Editor

For the second time in less than four years, Imed, once the home-grown darling of San Diego’s investment community, will be sold.

But unlike its sale to giant Warner-Lambert Co. for $465 million--first announced in March, 1982--the buyer remains unknown, as does what will become of the profitable maker of highly sophisticated intravenous infusion systems.

Imed and two other Warner-Lambert subsidiaries that make up the New Jersey-based conglomerate’s health technologies group--Deseret and Reichert--will be sold off as part of a restructuring that will spell the end of Warner-Lambert’s role in the hospital products-medical device industry. (See story above.)

Imed has “no layoffs planned” as a result of the planned sale, spokeswoman Sydnie Smith said.

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‘No Immediate Changes’

“We’re going to take our operating plan for 1986 and look at it optimistically,” she said. “There are no immediate changes planned.”

A year ago, the company laid off 85 of its 1,400 San Diego-based workers as part of a major cost-cutting plan sparked by cutbacks in federal Medicare expenditures.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is Warner-Lambert’s way of telling us and the world that we don’t fit into their portfolio,” said Smith.

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Imed President John Sifers and Warner-Lambert’s vice president of human resources toured the company Tuesday, explaining the restructuring to Imed employees.

“They were very supportive . . . and told employees that ‘It’s nothing you did wrong,’ ” Smith said.

Failed Proxy Fight

Imed was founded in 1972 by Richard A. Cramer and three other former executives of Ivac Corp., the medical equipment maker, following a failed proxy fight for control of Ivac. The company had been founded by Cramer in 1967.

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The executives capitalized Imed with less than $10 million and were paid back handsomely when, in March, 1982, Warner-Lambert offered to acquire the company--with annual sales then of about $100 million--for $465 million.

At the time, Warner-Lambert projected that Imed’s 50% growth rate would mean sales of more than $500 million by 1987.

The company currently has annual sales of about $100 million, officials said.


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