US-based Watson Pharmaceuticals has acquired Strides Arcolab subsidiary Ascent Pharmahealth in a deal worth A$375m (US$393m).

The acquisition makes Watson the fifth-largest generic pharmaceutical company in Australia in terms of revenue, and the second largest in terms of total molecules possessed. Watson will acquire Ascent’s portfolio of generics, brands, branded-generics and over-the-counter medications, as well as the company’s dermatology and skincare products within the Australian market, which achieved total sales of approximately A$150m in Australia and South-East Asia in 2011.

Watson President and CEO Paul Bisaro said: "This acquisition complements our existing generic development and marketing capabilities in the important Australia market, and catapults us to a top-five position that would have taken considerable time and investment to build organically."

Watson currently operates within the Australian marketplace through its subsidiary Spirit Pharmaceuticals, although the acquisition of Ascent is expected to benefit from having a more established commercial base within the region. Watson has funded the transaction using cash-on-hand and borrowings, and the deal is expected to be immediately accretive to 2012 non-GAAP earnings.