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.


‘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.


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.


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.