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McKesson selling automation unit in Cranberry to private equity firm

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Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 10:39 a.m.

McKesson Corp. has agreed to sell its Cranberry automation business to a San Francisco private equity firm.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. McKesson Automation makes robotic equipment used in hospitals to code and distribute pharmaceuticals.

Private equity firm Francisco Partners said it plans to change the name of McKesson Automation after the deal closes, which is expected during the current quarter.

In May, San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. said it planned to sell the automation business, which it purchased for $65 million in 1996 from Sean McDonald. McDonald, who founded the company as Automated Healthcare around 1990, went on to found Precision Therapeutics Inc., a South Side company that produced a test used by cancer doctors to set chemotherapy doses.

McKesson Automation employs about 780 people, with 480 of them in Cranberry at its administration offices and manufacturing plant, spokeswoman Betsy Martinelli said.

The company is not expecting any changes after the deal closes, she said, calling the management of Francisco Partners “hands-off.”

Francisco Partners said in a statement that it plans to work with the company's leadership team “to expand the automation business as a standalone company.”

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or

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