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Abbott Laboratories to Acquire EAS

Acquisition Will Expand Abbott's Presence in the Rapidly Growing Healthy Living Nutrition Category ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Oct 11, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Abbott Laboratories (ABT) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire EAS, a U.S. nutrition leader based in Golden, Colo. EAS's portfolio of nationally recognized brands includes EAS(R), AdvantEdge(R), Myoplex(R) and Body for Life(R). Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will acquire EAS for approximately $320 million in a cash-for-stock transaction. EAS was founded in 1990 by Bill Phillips, author of the popular nutrition book Body for Life(R), and was sold to North Castle Partners -- a private equity firm specializing in nutrition and healthy living -- in 1999. The company has more than 260 employees. EAS's AdvantEdge(R) brand, which targets consumers focused on weight loss, weight management and balanced nutrition, is sold in food, drug and mass merchandisers across the United States. The Myoplex(R) brand, which targets active lifestyle consumers seeking to improve their performance in sports and other physical activities, is available in nutrition and health food specialty stores. EAS also recently launched a line of nutrition bars and drinks based on the Body for Life(R) philosophy. The acquisition of EAS complements Abbott's long-standing presence in general and specialized nutrition products for infants, children and adults -- housed in its Columbus, Ohio-based Ross Products Division. Abbott acquired ZonePerfect Nutrition Co. in 2003, and the company has been moving to meet growing consumer demand for healthy snacks and meal replacements for people on the go. "This acquisition expands Abbott's position in the rapidly growing Healthy Living Category," said Gary E. McCullough, senior vice president for Abbott's Ross Products Division. "EAS's strong brands, broad distribution and innovative products and processes strategically fit with our commitment to offering consumers great nutrition choices based on solid science." "EAS is a trend-setter in developing new products to help consumers lead healthier lifestyles," said Michael J. Ferry, Abbott's division vice president and general manager, Healthy Living Category. "We are delighted to welcome EAS into the Abbott family." "We are pleased to join forces with Abbott -- a company that shares our long-standing commitment to science-based, innovative products that improve people's lives," said Monty Sharma, EAS president and CEO. "Abbott advances leading-edge science and technologies through world-class marketing and sales execution. Our complementary skills and competencies -- combined with our shared mission -- make this an ideal partnership for the future." "Over the past five years, North Castle has worked closely with EAS management to successfully transfer product technology that was initially developed for high-end specialty users into multiple consumer channels and markets," said North Castle Managing Director Brent Knudsen. "Today, EAS is an innovative leader in the U.S. nutrition market, and it will be an excellent complement to Abbott's position as a worldwide nutrition leader." The transaction is not expected to have an impact on Abbott's 2004 on- going earnings per share guidance. The transaction is expected to result in acquisition-related one-time charges in the fourth quarter of 2004. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including government approvals, and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2004. About Abbott's Ross Products Division As a worldwide nutrition leader, Abbott's Ross Products Division is committed to helping people of all ages meet their nutritional needs. Abbott is well known for its Similac(R) Advance(R) and Isomil(R) Advance(R) infant formulas, along with a related line of pediatric nutrition products. Additionally, Abbott pioneered the market for adult nutritionals more than three decades ago. Today, the company's family of adult nutritional products includes Ensure(R), Glucerna(R) and ZonePerfect(R). For more information about Abbott's Ross Products Division, visit . Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 55,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 -- A Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for the purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect Abbott's operations are discussed in Exhibit 99.1 of our 2003 Annual Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K, and are incorporated by reference. We undertake no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as the result of subsequent events or developments.


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