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IMS Health to launch IPO

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — IMS Health Holdings is expected to launch an initial public stock offering in two weeks, according to a report Sunday in the Wall Street Journal. The syndicated prescription data service could be valued as much as $7 billion, WSJ noted, citing people familiar with the matter, with a per-share price of as much as $21. 

According to the report, private-equity firms are targeting around $1 billion raised from the sale, which would make IMS Health one of the larger IPOs in a year of large IPOs. 

IMS plans to use most of the expected proceeds from the IPO to repay debt, WSJ reported.

 

 

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Walmart bound to get bigger by going smaller

BY Michael Johnsen

Good things happen in small boxes. That’s what Walmart is counting on with the introduction of its latest store concept — Walmart to Go. First the supercenter, then Neighborhood Market, then WalmartExpress and now Walmart To Go. The boxes just keep getting smaller. (Check out photos of the new format.

But what if Walmart is on to something? What if tomorrow’s definition of convenience is ubiquity? Then it makes a lot of sense to start filling in the gaps between the supercenters with smaller formats. 

“Customers’ needs and expectations are changing. They want to shop when they want and how they want, and we are transforming our business to meet their expectations,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, in announcing the company’s capital commitment to the smaller format in February. “Customers appreciate the broad assortment of our supercenters for their stock-up trips as well as our small store formats for fill-in trips. By unlocking this growth opportunity and further combining our supercenters and small store formats with an unlimited selection available through ecommerce, we provide our customers with anytime, anywhere access to our brand.”

Tomorrow’s generation of consumers are going to be beyond tablet savvy. They’ll decide they want something, and with the swipe of a finger it’ll be theirs — bought and paid for — all they have to do is pick it up on the way home or have it delivered to their doorstep. Having those smaller footprints would serve both purposes — they could easily be positioned along commuter routes as well as within striking distance of neighboring communities; you know, if same-day delivery ever becomes commonplace. 

That’s not to say that that’s Walmart’s thinking behind all of this. But what if?

Ubiquity may become the name of the new game. When asked what they would do if their favorite retailer shut down its local store, 53% of respondents to a recent PwC survey noted they would locate the next nearest physical store and 40% said they would increase ordering from that retailer’s website. Shoppers today assume retailers are everywhere and always connected like themselves, and retailers need to look at store portfolio management more strategically, noted PwC in its report on what lies beyond omnichannel retailing

Walmart wouldn’t be alone in acting today on how shoppers might shop tomorrow. Take a look at what rival Target has done by taking product placement to a whole other level. They not only had an entire episode of TBS’ "Cougar Town" revolve around the Target shopping experience, but the 1.2 million people who watched that show live (according to Nielsen) had the opportunity to click and buy products placed on that episode through a simulcast on their tablets. If that’s not testing the waters on how tomorrow’s shoppers might shop, then what is?

Walmart also is not alone in testing ever-smaller formats. DSN reported in January that Target is looking to open a smaller store in the base of an apartment building currently under construction near the University of Minnesota campus that will serve as a test for the new format dubbed TargetExpress. And Giant Eagle earlier this year introduced its new Market District Express, which brought the best of Giant Eagle’s gourmet Market District food stores into the smaller footprint of its GetGo convenience stores. 

Not to be overlooked is Fred’s Super Dollar’s development last year of a smaller pharmacy format. The 8,000-sq.-ft. locations are half the size of a typical Fred’s. The format was designed to fit into smaller markets — or markets with a lighter population density — where Walmart and other big-box retailers likely aren’t. 

Well, that is, until now.

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Rx Response opens membership to individual companies in bio-pharmaceutical supply chain

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Rx Response earlier this week established a new membership structure that will enable individual companies in the bio-pharmaceutical supply chain to become direct members.

The move opens the door for individual companies to enhance their disaster preparedness and response capabilities by tapping Rx Response’s accurate and timely information, direct support during disasters, government relationships and industry networking. Individual supply chain companies that join Rx Response also will increase the program’s situational awareness by providing a broader source of reports about the impact of a disaster on the supply chain members.

Rx Response provides a platform through which the entire bio-pharmaceutical supply system can easily communicate to coordinate pre-disaster planning and post-disaster response. Rx Response also serves as a single point of contact through which government officials and supply chain members can liaise to share information and address challenges impacting the supply system. 

“We’re very excited to begin recruiting individual supply chain members to join Rx Response,” said Rx Response executive director Erin Mullen. “Many of the companies we’ll be talking with have already invested in disaster planning, but their active involvement in Rx Response will significantly boost their readiness. It will also open new doors for them to work with federal and state officials who can help companies address challenges posed by large-scale disasters," she said. "At the same time, adding supply chain companies to our roster will significantly boost the situational awareness we can rely on in the supply chain and offer to our government partners. This will allow federal and state officials to make more informed decisions about where to direct resources in a disaster to help address any threats to the bio-pharmaceutical supply chain.”

In addition to restructuring its membership, Rx Response also announced today that it has received official approval from the IRS for its application to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The approval will make it easier for Foundations, non-profit organizations and government agencies to provide grants to Rx Response. The 501(c)(3) designation will not change the operational components of the program, and government officials will still be able to participate at no cost.

Initial members of the newly formed Rx Response Board of Directors include:

  • Phyllis Arthur, senior director for vaccines, immunotherapeutics and diagnostics policy for Biotechnology Industry Organization;
  • Perry Fri, EVP industry relations, membership and education for the Healthcare Distribution Management Association;
  • Kathleen Jaeger, SVP pharmacy care and patient advocacy for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and president of the NACDS Foundation;
  • Mary Lockyear, manager of disaster health services for the American Red Cross;
  • Del Persinger, EVP and CFO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America;
  • Christine Simmon, SVP policy and strategic alliances for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association of America; and
  • Erin Mullen executive director of Rx Response.

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